Maquoketa Caves State Park to Reopen After Deadly Shooting
Maquoketa Caves State Park is set to reopen today (July 28th) at 10am following a deadly shooting that occurred last Friday, according to a press release from the Iowa Department of Natural Resources.
While the park will be open for use during the day, the campground remains closed until further notice. Campers who booked reservations through Sunday, July 31st have been refunded.
The park's closure came after three family members were killed on July 22nd. The alleged shooter, 23-year-old Anthony Sherwin of La Vista, NE, shot and killed himself.
The victims were 42-year-old Tyler Schmidt; his wife, 42-year-old Sarah Schmidt; and their daughter, six-year-old Lula Schmidt, all of Cedar Falls, IA. A temporary memorial site will be set up at the Maquoketa Caves entrance sign, close to the visitor center.
At this time, it is unclear if the gunman had any connection to the Schmidt family.
The Maquoketa Caves shooting comes after what seems to be a never-ending streak of shootings. On May 14, a gunman opened fired at a Tops grocery store in Buffalo, NY. Less than two weeks later, 19 children and two teachers were fatally shot at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, TX — the third deadliest school shooting in United States history and the deadliest in Texas to date. Then on July 4th, seven people were killed at a Fourth of July parade in Highland Park, IL.
A Celebration of Life service for Tyler, Sarah and Lula will be August 2, from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. at Overman Park in Cedar Falls, where the Schmidts lived.
As of this writing, there is no timetable on when the campground at Maquoketa Caves State Park will reopen.