Texas Dad and His 11-Year-Old Son Killed in Nice: 'They Are So Loved'
A father from Texas and his 11-year-old son were among the 84 victims killed in the attack in Nice, France, Thursday night.
Sean Copeland, 51, and his son Brodie, from the Austin area, were on vacation with family when the driver of a large truck plowed into a crowd gathered for Bastille Day fireworks, killing dozens — including children — and injuring 100 more.
"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," family spokesperson Jess Davis said in a statement. "They are so loved."
Another relative shared the news to Facebook.
"By now many of you have heard about the 80 people that have died in nice, France today from a terrorist attack driving through a parade," Haley Copeland posted Friday. "2 of those 80 people were American and those 2 people happen to be uncle Sean and 11 year old cousin Brodie.”
"Losing a loved one is hard no matter the circumstances but losing a loved one in suck a tragic and unexpected way is unbearable,” Haley wrote.
Brodie's baseball team, Hill Country Baseball, shared a photo from the family's vacation showing the boy swimming in the sea.
“Nobody deserves this type of fate, especially not such a wonderful family," the post said. "You are in our hearts, thoughts, and prayers. Rest in peace, Brodie and Sean; you will be remembered by many.”
According to a memorial page, Sean Copeland attended the University of North Texas in Denton.
U.S. officials have confirmed that two Americans died in the attack but have not yet released their names.
On Friday, the driver of the truck was identified as French-Tunisian Mohamed Lahouaiej Bouhlel.
Witnesses said the truck accelerated into crowds of pedestrians who were watching fireworks, mowing through people as it zig-zigged down a major thoroughfare in the French Riviera town, leaving a sea of bodies behind it. After driving for more than a mile, the driver was shot dead.
On Friday morning, French President Francois Hollande called the attack "a monstrosity."
"France is deeply saddened, but it is also very strong," he said. "I can assure you we will always be stronger than the fanatics who are trying to attack us."