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15 Jul, 2016 15:56

Father and son from Texas among Nice attack victims

Father and son from Texas among Nice attack victims

The two Americans killed in Thursday night’s terrorist attack in Nice, France were a father and son from Texas who were vacationing in Europe.

As some 30,000 people gathered on Nice’s Promenade des Anglais to watch the fireworks show celebrating Bastille Day – a French national holiday marking the start of the 1789 revolution – a truck drove through the crowd for more than a mile, killing 84 and injuring more than 200 people. Ten of the dead were children.

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Among the victims were Sean Copeland, 51, and his 11-year-old son Brodie from the Austin, Texas suburb of Lakeway. They were identified Friday by Copeland’s wife and two other children, who survived the attack.

“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,” the family said in a statement reported by Austin’s KEYE-TV.

The Copelands were in France for a relative’s birthday, according to KXAN-TV. They first visited Pamplona in Spain, then traveled to Barcelona, before ending up in Nice.

Sean Copeland worked for Lexmark Corporation and coached youth baseball, the Austin American-Statesman reported. Brodie played in the league, and was a beloved member of the Hill Country Baseball club.

“Nobody deserves this type of fate, especially not such a wonderful family,” Hill Country posted on Facebook. “You are in our hearts, thoughts, and prayers. Rest in peace, Brodie and Sean, you will be remembered by many.”

Copeland's niece Heather posted photos of Sean and Brody on her Twitter feed, but said she was not able to talk to reporters.

"Everyone, please...  respect my family and I as we morn [sic] over our loss... all I ask for is prayers," she wrote, adding later, "I just want my cousin and uncle back."

The attacker was identified by French authorities as Mohamed Lahouaiej Bouhlel, 31, a French resident of Tunisian origin. Bouhlel, a father of three, was shot and killed by the police.

This is the third major terror attack in France in less than two years. The satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo was attacked in January 2015, followed by the massacre in central Paris in November. Altogether, the three attacks have claimed more than 230 lives.