CEDAR FALLS, Iowa — Friday’s tragedy rocked the entire state but for Cedar Falls residents they were struck at their core.
“Just really unthinkable emotions we are dealing with right now for something we are not mentally prepared for and you never can be,” said the city’s mayor Rob Green.
Iowa Department of Public Safety officials, along with the Division of Criminal Investigation, say 42-year-old Tyler and Sarah Schmidt along with their 6-year-old daughter Lula were shot and killed while camping at Maquoketa Caves State Park. The alleged shooter, Anthony Sherwin was found dead from a self inflicted gunshot wound.
“It is hitting home that even small communities can be devastated by shootings and these mass incidents,” said Green.
Rob Green has served as the Cedar Falls Mayor since 2020 and says Sarah was a well-known employee at the Cedar Falls Public Library.
“Sarah had been a library employee for several years now and anyone coming into the library was used to her bubbly personality and helpfulness,” said Green.
Now, just their 9-year-old son Arlo is the family’s lone survivor and condolences and tributes are flooding the library.
“She had a love for kids especially and just for helping people to become smarter and more knowledgeable and know about the world around them,” said Green,
The Iowa DPS is still searching for a connection between Sherwin, the alleged shooter, and the Schmidt family. Investigators also continue to search for a motive in the senseless tragedy.
Green said, “As a mayor, I feel it is my responsibility to do two things from the city side. First being just to give the family the support that they needs and then two to heal the community.”
It’s healing that won’t come easy.
“I just ask for residents and others to be kind to one another. Give a little grace during this really difficult time,” Green said.