[Content Note: Terrorism; death; injury.]
Yesterday, during a celebration in Nice of Bastille Day (an important public holiday in France which is often compared to the 4th of July in the US), a truck plowed into and through the crowd, killing at least 84 people and wounding more than 100, 18 of whom are seriously injured.
The attacker drove for more than a mile down the Promenade des Anglais, which had been closed to traffic during the celebration. Witnesses report the driver was swerving and driving up onto the sidewalk, to try to harm as many people as possible. When he finally came to a stop, the driver reportedly then emerged and began shooting with a handgun. He was killed by police, who later determined the truck contained weapons and grenades, some or all of which were fakes.
He has been identified as a 31-year-old Tunisian-born Frenchman named Mohamed Lahouaiej Bouhlel, and was "known to the police for common crimes—including violence—but not to the intelligence services, a police source said."
It is being assumed that Bouhlel was motivated by radical jihadism, but that has not yet been substantiated.
It is not known if he was working as a lone wolf for IS; whether he had local assistance in committing this vile act; or whether he was orchestrated this deadly scheme entirely on his own. As of this writing, the Islamic State has not claimed responsibility.
Among the victims, all of whom have not yet been identified, are two Americans from Texas: Sean Copeland and his son Brodie.
My condolences to the family, friends, and colleagues of those who died. My fervent hopes for recovery to those who were injured. My sympathies to the people who narrowly escaped, or who witnessed this horrific event, and to the community of Nice, and to anyone traumatized by this awful act of mass harm. My solidarity to Muslims to who will be tormented in the wake of this act, even though Muslims were among the victims; even though Muslims are more likely to die at the hands of jihadists than anyone else.
I want to caution readers that much of the coverage of the attack in Nice includes graphic images and descriptions of the events which may be upsetting or triggering.
As always, please keep this an image-free thread as you share updates and information. Thank you.
UPDATE 1: "Suspect was in the process of a divorce." I have said over and over and over that virtually every act of mass violence is preceded by domestic violence and/or discord. And every time, that pattern is ignored. Despite the fact that we wring our hands about how to identify these attackers and pretend that there are no indicators. There is one very big indicator. And it is not, by the way, religion or any other ideology they slap on top of their acts as justification.