Suspect in Fatal Bastille Day Attack in Nice Identified by French Media

Authorities have reportedly identified the truck driver responsible for the attack that killed at least 84 people, including children, during a Bastille Day celebration in Nice, France, on Thursday, July 14. 

French media reported that the suspect was a 31-year-old French Tunisian man and resident of Nice. According to the AFP, a police source revealed that the man was identified from papers found inside the vehicle. Authorities have not yet named the man, but French newspaper Nice-Matin  identified him as Mohamed Lahouaiej Bouhlel, according to the BBC, The Telegraph and Time. CBS News sources also name Bouhlel as the suspect.

Nice Bastille Day Attack
Valery Hache/AFP/Getty Images

According CNN, the suspected attacker was known to police for petty crimes, but he wasn’t suspected as a potential terrorist. No one has yet claimed responsibility for the attack, but officers were searching Bouhlel's home in the Abattoirs neighborhood of the French Riviera city on Thursday, according to Nice-Matin. 

As previously reported, the suspect drove his truck through crowds celebrating Bastille Day on the Promenade des Anglais, where thousands gathered to watch the fireworks and hear live music. The driver managed to ram his truck through about a mile-long stretch of promenade, firing shots into the masses, before he was shot and killed by police.

Nice Bastille Day Attack
Valery Hache/AFP/Getty Images

An eyewitness told the Associated Press that he saw the driver plow right into the revelers before getting out of his vehicle with a gun and shooting in all directions.

U.S. officials confirmed that at least two Americans were killed in the attack. The Austin American-Statesman identified them as father-son duo Sean, 51, and Brodie Copeland, 11, from Lakeway, Texas, citing a statement from their family. They were vacationing in Europe and celebrating Bastille Day when they were killed. 

“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,” the family said in a statement. “They are so loved.”

France’s president, Francois Hollande, said that the deadly incident was without a doubt a “terror attack.” Hours before the Nice attack, Hollande announced a decision to lift the country's state of emergency on July 26, but it has since been continued for three more months.

President Barack Obama also condemned “what appears to be a horrific terrorist attack” in a statement that the White House shared on Twitter. “We have offered any assistance that they may need to investigate this attack and bring those responsible to justice. We stand in solidarity and partnership with France, our oldest ally, as they respond to and recover from this attack,” he wrote. 

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