Unusual Gun Used in Maquoketa Caves State Park Shooting
Investigators are still slowly trying to piece together the details surrounding the shooting that left three members of a Cedar Falls family dead after being shot a the Maquoketa Caves State Park campground. The Des Moines Register reports that as of last Friday, little new information in the case was being released. Officials say they hope to have autopsy reports done by later this week. But one detail that has come to light is the gun used in the crime.
Sources have told the Des Moines Register that the suspected killer, 23-year-old Anthony Orlando Sherwin of Nebraska, used a homemade weapon, often called a ghost gun, to kill Tyler and Sarah Schmidt and their six-year-old daughter Lula. He also reportedly used the same weapon to claim his own life. Ghost guns are untraceable weapons that can be built with parts purchased at a store or online. Some states have moved to outlaw them.
The pictured weapon is an example of a ghost gun, not the weapon used.
The Register reports that no motive for the shooting has surfaced. Sherwin's parents, who have been cooperating fully with authorities, say they have doubts about what law enforcement says happened that day. In an email to the Register, Sherwin's parents stated that their son did have a fascination with guns, but that it had passed. The parents did confirm, however, that their son had built a homemade weapon prior to their camping trip to Iowa. They say it was to protect the family from the rising threat of violent crime.
Investigators say that the family had multiple guns stored in their car, but that it was the homemade device that was used in the shooting.