A student, a father and son: Portraits of Nice victims
The Bastille Day crowd on the waterfront in Nice, France, was a festive mixture of French locals and foreign visitors. The truck that slammed into them late Thursday, apparently intent on hitting as many as possible, did not discriminate — among the 84 dead identified so far were Americans, Germans, Ukrainians and a Russian.
Here are brief portraits of some of the victims:
■The Copeland family, from a town near Austin, Texas, was taking in some of Europe’s classic sights on vacation — starting with the running of the bulls in Pamplona, Spain.
Sean Copeland, the 51-year-old father of the family, and his 11-year-old son Brodie were killed in the attack, while other family members survived.
“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,” said a statement released by family friend Jess Davis.
After the family’s Pamplona excitement, it was “on to flamenco dancing in Barcelona and they had been celebrating Bastille Day in Nice when this unthinkable and unfair act of terror took Sean and Brodie from the world far too soon,” the statement said.
A former co-worker of Sean Copeland remembered him as a man devoted to his family and a charismatic and generous person who wanted others to succeed.
“He was one of those guys you couldn’t help but like,” said John Dorr, who was hired by Copeland for his first software sales job 20 years ago. “He was always happy, always smiling.”
■In his last moments of life, 27-year-old Timothe Fournier was more concerned about his pregnant wife, pushing her out of the path of the truck.
“He was a dreamy young man, but he was always there for her and their future child,” a cousin identified only as Anais told French radio.
It was unclear whether Fournier’s wife, who was seven months pregnant, escaped unscathed.
The couple lived in Paris and was in Nice for the Bastille Day holiday.
■Robert Marchand, 60, served as president and coach of the athletics club of Marcigny, a small town nestled in France’s Burgundy region. Marchand also worked for a local company.
Marcigny Mayor Louis Poncet was quoted by Le Journal de Saone-et-Loire as saying that Marchand died in the Nice attack. He called Marchand “a devoted, passionate man who helped the club rise to its highest level.”
Marchand was married and had one daughter.
The newspaper said Marchand was among a group of athletic club members who were to attend a Golden League of Monaco athletics meeting Friday and planned to return home Saturday.
No one else from the group was hurt, the newspaper report said.
■Emmanuel Grout was a high-ranking officer — deputy commissioner of the local border police — but he was off-duty and enjoying the fireworks with his girlfriend and her daughter when he was killed.
Grout, 48, oversaw police operations at Nice’s airport, French media reported.
France’s police ranks lost “a great personality,” former Nice mayor Christian Estrosi said in a tribute to Grout.
■Viktoria Savchenko, 20, was in Nice on holiday with her pal Polina Serebryannikova, both of them students on summer break from Moscow’s Financial University.
When the truck sped through the crowd, Savchenko couldn’t get out of the way in time. Serebryannikova was hospitalized with injuries, Russian news reports said.
The newspaper Komsomolskaya Pravda quoted a friend of the young women, identified as Yulia E., as saying “They had so much fun, walked together. Vika took pictures of her. And suddenly all this horror.”
■A retired couple from northeastern France, their daughter, and their grandson were among the victims.
The Republicain Lorrain newspaper identified the victims as Francois and Christiane Locatelli; their daughter, Veronique Lyon, 55; and Mickael Pellegrini, 28, their grandson. The family had gone to the French Riviera for a brief holiday.
The family is well-known in the township of Longwy, where the 82-year-old Francois had worked as a heating engineer and his grandson taught high school economics and social studies at the Lycee des Recollets.
“The large Recollets family has just lost one of its own,” the school said on its website. “We join the family in their enormous pain and distress.”
Christiane Locatelli “loved to laugh,” according to an online report in the Liberation newspaper. She was a formidable woman who liked orchids and post cards, her older sister, Jacqueline, told the newspaper. Locatelli had just sent her sister a post card from her Mediterranean vacation. “She asked about my health. In the end, she was killed by a jerk,” Jacqueline told the paper.
■Fatima Charrihi’s son told French news media that his mother was a devout Muslim.
“She wore the veil but practiced a true Islam — not the terrorist version,” Hamza Charrihi was quoted as saying by the newspaper L’Express.
He believes she may have been the first to die in the attack, struck down as she walked on the promenade with some nieces and nephews. He said another son performed CPR on her, but the mother of seven died on the pavement.
The son showed French media a residency card belonging to his mother, but her nationality wasn’t immediately clear.
■Linda Casanova Siccardi, one of the two Swiss nationals confirmed to have died, is described in a trade union newsletter as one of the country’s first female customs officials.
A 2009 article in the Garanto newsletter says Casanova started in customs in the late 1970s and was the first woman from Ticino to receive a diploma as a customs specialist.
She described attending customs school at an old military barracks in Liestal and breaking through the barriers of a male-dominated industry that hadn’t yet adjusted to women in the workplace.
Aside from work, she told the newsletter her big passions were animals, nature and long walks.