NICE, France (July 15, 2016) — A large truck plowed through revelers gathered for Bastille Day fireworks in Nice, killing at least 84 people and sending others fleeing into the sea as it bore down for more than a mile along the Riviera city’s famed waterfront promenade.
Father, son from Texas among victims
AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — An Austin-area father and son who were vacationing in Europe with their family are among the victims of the deadly truck attack in Nice, France, relatives said Friday.
Sean Copeland, 51, and his son Brodie, 11, were killed Thursday evening in what French authorities have described as a terror attack, family friend Jess Davis said.
“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 Copeland family said in a statement released by Davis. “They are so loved.”
Davis said the Copeland family from Lakeway, 20 miles northwest of Austin, were on a European vacation that began in Spain with the running of the bulls in Pamplona.
Davis said the surviving Copeland family members remain in Nice and are “overwhelmed and don’t want to deal with media inquiries.”
The Austin American-Statesman reported that Sean Copeland was vice president of an Austin software company.
The driver was killed by police and no one immediately claimed responsibility for the Thursday night attack on France’s national holiday, which rocked a nation still dealing with the aftermath of two attacks in Paris last year that killed a total of 147 people.
“Terrorism is a threat that weighs heavily upon France and will continue to weigh for a long time,” Prime Minister Manuel Valls said after an emergency government meeting Friday. “We are facing a war that terrorism has brought to us. The goal of terrorists is to instill fear and panic. And France is a great country, and a great democracy that will not allow itself to be destabilized.”
The truck plowed into the crowd over a distance of two kilometers (about 1.2 miles), a lawmaker said, and broadcast footage showed a scene of horror up and down the promenade, with broken bodies splayed on the asphalt, some piled near one another, others bleeding onto the roadway or twisted into unnatural shapes.
Some tried to escape into the water, Eric Ciotti, a lawmaker for the region that includes Nice said Friday, giving new details of the horrifying last minutes of the attack.
“A person jumped onto the truck to try to stop it,” Ciotti told Europe 1 radio. “It’s at that moment that the police were able to neutralize this terrorist. I won’t forget the look of this policewoman who intercepted the killer.”