Mother of suspected gunman from La Vista says family is 'deeply saddened'

cigaretteman

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May 29, 2001
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The mother of a La Vista man suspected of fatally shooting three people before turning the gun on himself in an Iowa state park Friday said her son gave no indication that anything was wrong prior to the shooting.
Authorities continued to investigate Saturday what transpired before the killing of Tyler Schmidt, 42, Sarah Schmidt, 42, and Lula Schmidt, 6, all of Cedar Falls, Iowa. All three were found dead at their campsite in Maquoketa Caves State Park on Friday morning, according to the Iowa Department of Public Safety.
The Schmidts’ 9-year-old son, Arlo, survived the attack and was safe, according to a statement issued by Cedar Falls Mayor Rob Green on Facebook on Friday.


Law enforcement was called at 6:23 a.m. Friday for a reported shooting at the park campground, according to the Department of Public Safety. Officers discovered the bodies and eventually determined that one camper, Anthony Orlando Sherwin, 23, was unaccounted for.

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After searching the area, law enforcement located Sherwin’s body. He appeared to have suffered a self-inflicted gunshot wound, according to the Department of Public Safety.

Sherwin was a La Vista resident.

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.”

Cecilia Sherwin, Anthony Sherwin’s mother, told the Omaha World-Herald in an email Saturday that the family refuses “to believe the news.”

Cecilia Sherwin said they were camping at the park Friday morning when she heard yelling and two gunshots. A young boy ran up to the Sherwins’ campsite yelling for help and told her that a man wearing black had shot his family, she said.

Cecilia Sherwin said her son was wearing green, not black, and no black clothing was found in the area. She also said they were legally traveling with a gun, which was located in a secure container.


“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.”
A review of Nebraska criminal justice records found no signs that Sherwin had a criminal history.
Cecilia Sherwin said in a second email that the family "cooperated fully with the police and investigative team from the get-go." They informed authorities that Anthony was missing and that they feared he had been killed by the man the young boy had described.
"I didn't think we had any tears left but we still find ourselves breaking down and care deeply for the little boy and the loss of his family," she said.


Cecilia Sherwin reiterated that her son "gave us no warning that he was planning anything of this sort."
"Anthony was not capable of this sort of violence," she said.
Officials did not say if Anthony Sherwin had a firearm permit, the AP reported, noting that Iowa allows people with permits to carry firearms virtually anywhere in the state. Officials provided no information about the firearm that was used to kill the Schmidts, the AP reported.

Autopsies on the Schmidts are expected to take place over the weekend, according to the Department of Public Safety, and those findings will be released to the public. The state medical examiner also will perform an autopsy on Sherwin.

Green, the Cedar Falls mayor, said in his Facebook statement that the Schmidts were his neighbors. Sarah Schmidt was a Cedar Falls Public Library employee.

“Details will be forthcoming about services and other memorials, and I will ensure the community knows about this,” Green wrote. “Please offer some extra grace to the Schmidts’ many friends, neighbors, and coworkers as we try to process this horrible tragedy.”
A GoFundMe to support Arlo Schmidt had already received more than $81,000 in donations by 8 p.m. Saturday.

 
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Jerome Silberman

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What a f@cked up situation.

It's hard for me to imagine a more nightmare scenario as a parent. To swing from scared and worried your son has been murdered, to having to process that they are likely the monster in the situation. It think it would make me lose touch with reality.
 

MitchLL

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Not many parents want to believe their children are evil and capable of such a heinous act. Just look at the comments from the mother of the Uvalde killer.

It suggests they might have been a shitty mother/father.

And whether the shooter had a criminal history is only one detail regarding if the killer should have had access to a gun.

A parent "looking the other way" is neglect of parental duties.
 

soybean

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What does it look like to you, because it seems like the start of a weird as Cohen brothers movie to me?
I don't know why, but for some reason this reminds me of a neighbor we had when I was a boy who was working on his car one day in the garage. When he went into the house to clean his greasy fingers he entered the kitchen and he put his hands into a sink full of warm soapy water his wife was washing dishes in and finding a butcher knife she was soaking in the sink he decided to pull it out of the dish water and plunge into the top of his head...he, of course, dropped dead where he stood.

When the police investigated his death they all came to the conclusion that although it was a bit odd it was a suicide. But still, they were a somewhat troubled that the wife proceded to finishing washing the rest of the dishes while she waited for them to arrive. Less than 6 months later the grieving widow married the hired man. They sold the farm the following Fall and moved to California.
 

soybean

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I forgot to add this one detail. One of the local cops who was on the scene had went to school with my Dad. He said that the rest of the house was a filthy shambles and the widow was in need of a bath, but all of the dishes had been washed and put away. All of this had occured while the hired man was in the hog house docking and castrating baby pigs.
 
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soybean

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@soybean has seen some sh!t.

I'd love to see your stories in book form.

Tales From Between the Rows: Strange Happenings In America's Heartland
I was about 7 or 8 when it happened, but my Dad reminded us all of this event at least once a year, oddly enough usually while we were hand churning ice cream for the 4th of July.
 
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lucas80

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Wait, so the suspected murderer was camping with his parents at the park the night of the murders? This just gets weirder by the day.
That is how I read it, and mom is sowing seeds of doubt with the change in shirt color comments.
I don’t buy that she never noticed anything odd in his behavior. The lack of a record is odd.
She saw him before the shooting? This happened at 6:20 in the morning. Few people are stirring at that time to begin with.
 

Jerome Silberman

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When did that even become legal? Firearms are prohibited at state parks. When did the permit allowance become law?
I'm honestly surprised you even need to apply for a permit with the direction Iowa has gone in the last few years.

I'm sure the state legislature will strip that requirement in the next session.
 
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Hawki97

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Dec 16, 2001
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Are you asserting that people can't carry while in a state park?

I don't have the slightest clue what the laws are, but it's Iowa and Kim so I assume this is cool - or will be soon enough - in our parks?

predator1-still-066.jpg
 
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