An American father and his 11-year-old son were killed when a truck plowed through pedestrians who had gathered to watch fireworks marking the end of Bastille Day in the center of Nice, France, late Thursday night.
Sean Copeland and his son Brodie were on a family vacation in the southern French city from Texas when they were killed along with at least 82 others. Their deaths were confirmed Friday morning by a family representative and the US State Department.
“We are heartbroken and in shock over the loss of Brodie Copeland, an amazing son and brother who lit up our lives, and Sean Copeland, a wonderful husband and father,” the family said in a statement distributed by friend Jess Davis. “They are so loved.”
— AlwaysActions (@AlwaysActions) July 15, 2016
Sean Copeland was the vice president of North and South America for Kapow Software, family friend Jess Davis told the Statesman newspaper.
His young son Brodie, who played baseball for his local Hill Country Baseball league, was mourned in a tribute posted on the league’s Facebook page.
“Nobody deserves this type of fate, especially not such a wonderful family,” the tribute said.
Spectators had gathered to watch fireworks on the Promenade des Anglais seaside walk in the center of Nice late Thursday night when the truck plowed into the crowd. The attacker continued driving for more than a mile, the ranking politician of Alpes-Maritime Department told reporters on Thursday.
At least 10 children were among the dead. At least 18 people are still in extremely serious condition, and 54 children have been admitted to the children’s hospital Lenval since Thursday night, according to the French newspaper Nice-Matin.
Three students from the University of California, Berkeley on a study abroad program were wounded in the attack. Another student, identified as 20-year-old Nicolas Leslie, was reported missing. Two of the injured students suffered broken legs and the other suffered a broken foot.
Two Russians were also among the victims, according to Russian journalist Dmitry Smirnov. One was killed and another was wounded in the attack.
— Дмитрий Смирнов (@dimsmirnov175) July 15, 2016
The foreign ministry of Armenia confirmed that an Armenian woman was killed in the attack. A Ukrainian citizen was also killed, according to the Ukraine foreign ministry.
Swiss news agency ATS reports that a 54-year-old Swiss woman was killed.
Two Moroccan citizens – a woman and a child – were killed, the Moroccan consulate told the Huffington Post.
The driver of the truck, identified by authorities as 31-year-old Franco-Tunisian Mohamed Lahouaiej Bouhlel, opened fire on the crowd with a 7.65 mm pistol before accelerating and ramming the explosives-loaded truck into nearby pedestrians, officials said.
Bouhlel was known to police for non-terrorism related infractions and was not under police surveillance. A search was held this morning at his home in Nice.