A Texas father and son were among at least 84 people killed when a French-Tunisian driver plowed a large delivery truck through a crowd of Bastille Day revelers in coastal Nice, France.
Ten among the dead were children or teenagers, and 202 people were injured, French authorities said.
Mohamed Lahouaiej-Bouhlel, 31, a Nice resident, was “totally unknown to intelligence services… and was never flagged for signs of radicalization,” said anti-terror prosecutor Francois Molins, according to France24. He worked as a delivery man and left his ID and ATM card inside the truck. He was married with three children but had been kicked out of his house a year ago for domestic violence, BBC reported.
ISIS supporters quickly celebrated the attack online, but there has been no claim of responsibility yet from the Islamic State or any other terror group.
Sean Copeland, 51, of Austin and his 11-year-old son Brodie were struck and killed while on a family vacation that began in Spain and worked up to the French Riviera.
“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. They are so loved,” a family spokeswoman said.
Sean Copeland was vice president of North and South America for Lexmark Corporation’s Kapow Software Division.
“Today, Lexmark is saddened to learn that our employee and friend, Sean Copeland, and his son, Brodie, were killed in the attack in Nice, France last night,” Lexmark Corporate Communications program manager Jerry Grasso said in a statement. “Sean was not only a terrific leader in the company but a phenomenal person who will be dearly missed.”
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) noted that Brodie’s mother, stepbrother and stepsister were also celebrating Bastille Day in Nice.
“My office is working closely with the Copeland family, along with federal and international officials, to swiftly bring surviving family members and the bodies of their loved ones home,” Cruz said in a statement.
“We are lifting the Copeland family up in prayer, along with all of the victims who are suffering because of this heinous act of terror. They are the victims of a radical theology fueled by hatred of freedom and Western civilization,” Cruz said. “Their hatred knows no boundaries. They are focused on one mission: kill the infidel. We cannot win the war on terror if we do not recognize that we are fighting radical Islamic terrorists motivated by this radical theology that mandates the forcible murder or submission to Sharia of those they deem infidels.”
Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) tweeted: “My prayers are with the Copeland family as they mourn the loss of Sean and Brodie.”
Austin Rep. Roger Williams (R-Texas) said, “The loss of Sean and Brodie Copeland hits us in our core and breaks our hearts. Our president must not lose sight of the mission to keep us safe and destroy radical Islamic extremists.”
President Obama ordered flags flown at half-staff “as a mark of respect for the victims of the attack” until sunset on July 19.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) acknowledged the Texas victims at the beginning of her morning press conference.
“We mourn every loss, but especially mention two Americans identified among the dead, Sean Copeland of Austin, Texas, and his 11-year-old son. They were there on vacation and they were caught in that attack — an attack that came on Bastille Day, as you know, as they were watching fireworks and celebrating,” Pelosi said.
“And I thought one of the statements of one of the officials of France was particularly moving. He said, ‘In response to all of this, we will honor the values of July 14th.’ We, too, in responding to it should honor the values of July 4th,” she added. “They’re celebrating, liberty, equality, fraternity and became a target. It is so sad.”