Parents & 6 Years Old Girl was fatally shot while camping at an Iowa state park in an apparently random attack by a man from Nebraska, who later turned the gun on himself, authorities said.
The couple leaves behind a 9-year-old son, according to the Cedar Falls mayor. It was not immediately clear Saturday if the boy was with his family at the time of the attack at the Maquoketa Caves State Park Campground.
The Iowa Department of Public Safety identified the victims as Tyler Schmidt, 42; his 42-year-old wife, Sarah Schmidt; and their 6-year-old daughter, Lula Schmidt.
Their bodies were found in their tent early Friday at the campground, about 180 miles (290 kilometers) east of Des Moines.
Authorities said the suspected gunman, 23-year-old Anthony Sherwin, was found dead in a wooded area of the park with a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
Mitch Mortvedt, assistant director of the Department of Public Safety’s division of criminal investigation, told The Associated Press on Saturday that the motive for the attack was still unknown.
“We don’t know what led up to this, what precipitated it,” he said, adding that so far, “the investigation has not revealed any early interaction between the Schmidt family and him.”
He said that during the course of the investigation, authorities learned Sherwin was armed and “that of course heightened our awareness.” Iowa allows people with permits to carry firearms virtually anywhere in the state.
Officials did not say if Sherwin had a permit and provided no information about the firearm that was used to kill the Schmidts.
The Des Moines Register reported that Sherwin came from La Vista, Nebraska. La Vista Police Chief Bob Lausten told the newspaper that Sherwin had lived in an apartment complex with his parents and that he had no history of criminal conduct.
Autopsies on Sherwin and the victims were scheduled to be performed over the weekend, Mortvedt said, and more information would likely be released based on those findings.