UPDATED 2:05 PM PT – Sunday, July 24, 2022
Two parents and their six-year-old daughter were fatally shot at a state park in Iowa. The Jackson County Sheriff’s Office said officers responded to reports of a triple homicide on Friday and located the bodies of the victims at the Moquoketa Caves Campground.
Officers later discovered the body of the alleged gunman who has been identified as a 23-year-old Nebraska man with a self-inflicted gunshot wound nearby. The victims were identified as 42-year-old Tyler Schmitt, 42-year-old Sarah Schmitt and their six-year-old daughter Lula, all of Cedar Falls, Iowa.
A memorial mural goes up at the Cedar Falls library where the mother killed in the Maquoketa Caves campground shooting worked pic.twitter.com/rnKPR9JVJJ
— Iowa Starting Line (@IAStartingLine) July 24, 2022
“I’m horrified by the shooting this morning at Maquoketa Caves State Park and devastated by the loss of three innocent lives,” said Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds (R). “As we grieve this unimaginable tragedy, Kevin and I pray for the victims’ family members and the law enforcement officers who responded to the scene. We ask Iowans to do the same.”
Their nine-year old son Arlo was also present and able to survive the attack and it’s unclear whether the suspect knew the victims. In the meantime, park officials are working with investigators as they try to uncover a motive.
“I, as well as the DNR staff, am devastated for the families impacted by the tragic incident at Maquoketa Caves State Park,” voiced Iowa Department of Natural Resources Director Kayla Lyon. “Our long standing tradition of enjoying Iowa’s natural wonders was shaken today, but the legacy for the millions of families that recreate at Iowa State Parks will continue. This heartbreaking incident hits home for the DNR family. Not only as people who are passionate about getting folks outside, but as people who regularly camp with our families at these same parks.
Special Agent in Charge Mike Krapfl said the park will remain closed until further notice while authorities continue their investigation.