Iowa politicians respond to Maquoketa Caves State Park shooting

By: - July 22, 2022 2:41 pm

Anthony Orlando Sherwin, 23, is the suspected shooter in an incident that left four dead at Maquoketa Caves State Park Friday. (Sherwin photo provided by Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation, park photo via Google Earth)

Iowa politicians are mourning the victims of a shooting early Friday at Maquoketa Caves State Park.

Four people were left dead after a shooting that took place in the state park campgrounds at about 6:30 a.m. Friday, said Mike Krapfl, special agent in charge of the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation. The suspected gunman is among the dead.

Law enforcement officials have yet to identify the victims or say how they died. Those details are expected to be released when autopsies are performed and families notified, Krapfl said.

Authorities have released the name of one person found at the campground: Anthony Sherwin, a 23-year-old from Nebraska. Sherwin was found dead of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound.

Law enforcement officials said there is no longer an active threat at the Maquoketa Caves campground, but the park remains closed.

The Maquoketa Caves incident is the latest in a string of shootings nationwide this year. Democrats in Congress called for gun control in the wake of a school shooting in Uvalde, Texas that left 19 students and two teachers dead. Seven died in a mass shooting at a a parade in Highland Park, Illinois July 4.

This is the third shooting in a public space in Iowa this year. In March, a 16-year-old died in a shooting outside East High School in Des Moines. In June, a gunman shot and killed two Iowa State students, then himself, outside of Cornerstone Church in Ames.

U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley said on Twitter that he was following developments in the Maquoketa Caves shooting, adding that “violence can’t be tolerated.”

Gov. Kim Reynolds also released a statement on the shooting Friday afternoon.

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

In the past month, Reynolds has taken steps to address mass shootings in Iowa. In June, she allocated $100 million to create and fund the School Safety Bureau, a violence prevention coordination effort for Iowa schools, as well as improving mental health services. But this month she stopped short of saying whether she would support measures like a “red flag” law that would allow authorities and family members to seek a court order for temporarily confiscating firearms from a person at risk of causing harm.

U.S. Rep. Ashley Hinson, a Republican, also released a statement thanking law enforcement for their service and saying her team will be in touch on the shooting moving forward.

“This was a horrifying and senseless act of violence,” Hinson said in a statement. “As we wait to learn more, I join all Iowans in praying for those who lost their lives and our community.”

This story is developing.

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Robin Opsahl
Robin Opsahl

Robin Opsahl is an Iowa Capital Dispatch reporter covering the state Legislature and politics. Robin has experience covering government, elections and more at media organizations including Roll Call, the Sacramento Bee and the Wausau Daily Herald, in addition to working on multimedia projects, newsletters and visualizations. They were a political reporter for the Des Moines Register covering the Iowa caucuses leading up to the 2020 presidential election, assisting with the Register's Iowa Poll, and reporting on Iowa's 4th District elections.

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