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Boy, 9, 'survived' Iowa park shooting that killed parents and sister, officials say

A shooting at Maquoketa Caves State Park campground left four dead, including the suspected gunman.

A 9-year-old boy is the lone survivor of a shooting at an Iowa campground after his parents and sister were killed on Friday, July 22.

Iowa’s Division of Criminal Investigation (DCI) said in a statement that they and the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office “were notified of a triple homicide at the Maquoketa Caves State Park campground,” at 6:23 a.m. on July 22, according to NBC News.

Officers later found the body of the suspected gunman, 23, nearby. He "(appeared) to have suffered a self-inflicted gunshot wound," according to the statement.

Cedar Falls Mayor Rob Green released a statement on Facebook on Friday about the shooting, remembering the three local lives that were lost: Tyler Schmidt and Sarah Schmidt, both 42, and their daughter Lulu Schmidt, 6.

“Like many of you just hearing the news, I’m devastated,” he wrote. “I knew Sarah well, and she & her family were regular walkers here in the Sartori Park neighborhood. I was working with her this week on a public library tech presentation for 7/26.”

Green said that the couple’s 9-year-old son survived the shooting. He is safe, Green said.

“I’ve notified neighbors, and for those of you just learning about this through this post, I am so sorry,” he added. “Details will be forthcoming about services and other memorials, and I will ensure the community knows about this. Please offer some extra grace to the Schmidts’ many friends, neighbors, and coworkers as we try to process this horrible tragedy.”

In honor of Schmidt and her place of work, Green said that the Cedar Falls Library would also be closed on Saturday, July 23.

Gov. Kim Reynolds released a statement after the shooting.

“I’m horrified by the shooting this morning at Maquoketa Caves State Park and devastated by the loss of three innocent lives," Reynolds wrote. "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.” 

Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, also spoke out on Twitter, writing in part, “I’m closely monitoring situation in Maquoketa Caves State Park.”

“Praying for the lives lost & their loved ones Im grateful for Iowa law enforcement who responded +camp staff for ensuring safety of other campers Violence can’t be tolerated Killing innocent ppl is sickening,” the tweet concluded.

As of 7:30 p.m. on Friday, investigators determined that there is no “on-going risk to the public,” but said that the incident is still under investigation.

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