9-Year-Old Survivor of State Park Shooting Ran to Parents of Suspected Gunman for Help

The 9-year-old boy sole survivor of an attack on his family at an Iowa state park ran to a nearby campsite for help — the campsite of the man police believe shot and killed the boy’s parents and younger sister.

Tyler and Sarah Schmidt and their 6-year-old daughter Lula were killed in the shooting, early in the morning of July 22. Investigators say Anthony Sherwin of La Vista, Nebraska — who was camping at Maquoketa Caves State Park with his parents Joseph and Cecilia Sherwin — carried out the attack, as CrimeOnline previously reported.

Hours after the bodies of the Schmidts were found, police found Sherwin’s body with an apparently self-inflicted gunshot wound.

While police haven’t said how 9-year-old Arlo Schmidt survived, he was apparently not physically harmed. A GoFundMe set up to raise money for the boy was approaching $250,000 Thursday morning.

But Anthony Sherwin’s family “refuse[s] to believe” the police version of what happened that morning.

“Anthony was not capable of this sort of violence,” Cecillia Sherwin told the Omaha World-Herald after the family returned home to Nebraska.

Sherwin said that she and her husband heard yelling and gunshots. Then a young boy — apparently Arlo Schmidt — ran up to their campsite yelling for help. He told them that a man in black had just shot his family.

Sherwin told the newspaper her son was wearing green and that no black clothing was found in the area.

“We think (Anthony) might have sensed trouble and grabbed the gun for safety,” Cecilia Sherwin said. “We refuse to believe the news. We are deeply saddened as he had so much to live for and gave us no indication that anything was wrong.”

But Mitch Mortvedt, assistant director of the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation, said that investigators “are confident that everything we have reported is how it played out and that he is responsible.”

Investigators evacuated the park and the campground and found that Anthony Sherwin was the only registered camper missing. They launched a search for him and found his body west of the campground but still inside the park.

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[Featured image: The Schmidt Family: Tyler, Sarah, Arlo, and Lula/GoFundMe]