The Nice victims: American student was taking tech course

AP News
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Posted: Jul 17, 2016 8:32 PM
The Nice victims: American student was taking tech course

The terror attack on a joyous Bastille Day crowd waiting to watch fireworks in Nice, France, indiscriminately killed dozens of people, including children. The driver of a truck slammed into the festivities Thursday taking the lives of 84 people, including six members of the same family. Among those who have been identified were Americans, Germans, Ukrainians, Swiss, Tunisians, Polish and a Russian.

Portraits of some of the victims:

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American college student Nicolas Leslie, 20, was taking part in a summer technology entrepreneurship program at the European Innovation Academy in Nice.

Leslie, from the San Diego area, was the son of an Italian mother and American father. He was a junior at the University of California in Berkeley, the school said.

His fellow students had plastered the city with flyers searching for him in the three days he was officially missing.

The university planned to hold a vigil Monday for him and the three Berkeley students who were injured in the attack.

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Roman Ekmaliyan, 56, was remembered as a "very intelligent man" who was particularly interested in history and politics.

A Georgian of Armenian heritage, he lived in Belgium. The chief priest at the Russian Orthodox cathedral of Saint Nicholas of Nice remembered Ekmaliyan as a deeply cultured person.

"It was useful and interesting to engage in discussion with him, Archpriest Andrey Eliseev was quoted as saying on Le Croix's news website.

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Natalia Otto was in her late 50s and active in the Russian Orthodox Church. A Kazakh of Russian descent, she lived in Antwerp, Belgium. But one of her two daughters has been living in Nice, according to La Croix's news website.

Educated as a linguist, she taught in a parochial elementary school in Antwerp.

Andrey Eliseev, the chief priest at the Russian Orthodox cathedral Saint Nicolas of Nice, said she was a person of great intelligence and kindness and very devout in her faith.

She had left Kazakhstan after the fall of the Soviet Union, according to the Kazinform International News Agency website.

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Rachel Erbs, 39, spent her last moments with the people she loved.

Erbs, of Cessieu, in southeastern France, was bound for the island of Corsica with her husband and two children. Their itinerary passed through Nice, and they were outside with other tourists and locals when the truck barreled through the crowd.

Erbs' husband, Stephane, said they were heading back to their car with their two children, ages 7 and 12, after the fireworks. When they saw the white truck hurtling toward them, each parent pushed a child out of the way. Stephane said he remembered seeing Rachel get hit by the truck, but he lost track of her in the confusion.

He survived but ended up with some broken ribs, according to the France Bleu news website.

Rachel worked as a sales assistant at a heating and air conditioning company. She was also involved with a local basketball club and worked on her town's census.

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Four sisters were vacationing and seeing the sights in Nice. Two of them died in the Nice attack; two survived.

The Polish siblings were on holiday together and were waiting to enjoy fireworks on Nice's shore, according to the AFP news service.

Marzena Chrzanowska, 20, and her 21-year-old sister, Magdalena, were killed. Parish priest Jan Antol, of Krzyszkowice, a little village in southern Poland, said their mother had died four years ago.

"They had been helping their father since he became a widower," he said. "They were fantastic, greatly esteemed. He said their father was in shock.

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Zahia Rahmouni, 70, a retiree from the northern Algerian city of Constantine, had been visiting her daughter in Nice. They had taken Rahmouni's grandson to see the fireworks from the walkway along the shoreline.

Just before the attack, her grandson slipped away from his mother, who ran away from the Rahmouni to catch the boy, according to Le Figaro news website.

Rahmouni was killed; her daughter and grandson survived.

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Mino Razafitrimo, 31, was remembered by friends and family as down-to-earth, joyful, and sociable.

An immigrant from Madagascar, she had lived in the area around Nice for 12 years. She came to the city's famous promenade on the French national holiday, like so many others, to see the fireworks.

Her two children, ages 4 and 6, came with her, but they survived the attack, according to the AFP news agency.

Razafitrimo worked for a company as an executive assistant, according to L'Express de Madagascar. She was also active in the Malagasy Catholic community.

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Igor Chelechko was a father of four who was actively involved in the Russian Orthodox community in Nice.

The 48-year-old moved to the French Riviera town several months ago, according to Andrey Eliseev, the priest at Saint Nicolas Cathedral, in Nice.

The Belgian newspaper Gazet Van Antwerpen reports Chelechko lived in Antwerp where he worked for the Russian Orthodox Church in the northern Belgian city.

His Facebook page shows him participating in church activities.

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Laurence Tavet was spending the holiday with her two grandchildren, who were visiting her on vacation. She and her 7-year-old grandson, named Yanis, were killed in the attack, Algerian Foreign Ministry spokesman Abdelaziz Benali Cherif told Algerie Press Service, the official government news agency.

Tavet was married to an Algerian and was to be buried in her husband's homeland, along with Yanis, Cherif said.

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Four-year-old Yannis Coviaux loved to throw pebbles into the sea.

He and his parents, who are Nice residents, were joined by friends at the Promenade des Anglais to watch fireworks. Michael Coviaux told Le Parisien newspaper that his son was a little farther away with his friends when the truck barreled through the crowd.

"My immediate reaction was to grab my wife and throw her out of the way ... when I got up, there was a huge crowd, and I prayed to God that Yannis was safe and sound," he said.

Then, Coviaux saw his son, not far away, lying in blood.

"When I saw him, I understood right away. ... He resembled Aylan, the little refugee boy who drowned on the beach in Turkey," Coviaux told the newspaper.

He grabbed his son and ran toward the nearest hospital. A car with three young men inside stopped and drove until the vehicle came upon an ambulance. There, physicians took the little boy and tried unsuccessfully to revive him.

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David Bonnet was a man who loved hunting and fishing, and he was the son of a small-town official.

The central French town of Nerondes, where his father is the first deputy mayor, confirmed on its website that Bonnet had died in the attack in Nice.

"This terrible tragedy that has struck the family leaves us in shock — there are no words that might comfort them," the site said.

Bonnet himself was a 20-year resident of the village of Roquebilliere, where he owned a small business raising and selling fish. He is survived by a 21-year-old daughter.

The newspaper Le Berry Republicain quoted a friend as saying the close-knit community of Roquebilliere was in a state of shock over Bonnet's death.

"I am completely overwhelmed," said Aime Garnier. "He and I would go hunting together and shared good times."

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Like the attacker, at least three of his victims were of Tunisian descent.

Olfa Ben Souayah Khalfallah, Bilel Labbaoui and Mohamed Ben Abdelkader Toukabri were among those killed, and Khalfallah's 4-year-old son was missing as of Friday, the Tunisian foreign ministry said in a statement on its Facebook page.

Khalfallah was from the French city of Lyon, where she was born in 1985, the ministry said. Toukabri, from the northern Tunisian town of Majaz al-Bab, was in his late 50s and worked as a mechanic in Nice.

Labbaoui, from the western Tunisian province of Kasserine, was in his 20s.

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Six of seven family members who gathered in Nice to celebrate Bastille Day and each other's company died in the attack. The sole survivor was too traumatized to talk to the media, local news outlets reported.

The Republicain Lorrain newspaper identified the victims as retirees Francois Locatelli, 82, and Christiane Locatelli, 78; their daughter, Veronique Lyon, 55; and Mickael Pellegrini, 28, their grandson. The family had gone for a brief holiday to the French Riviera. They met up with Veronique's in-laws — Gisele Lyon, 63, and Germain Lyon, 68 — who also were killed. Their son, Christophe Lyon, was the sole survivor.

The Locatellis were well-known in the township of Longwy in northeastern France, where 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."

According to the Liberation newspaper online, Christiane Locatelli "loved to laugh." She was a formidable woman who liked orchids and postcards, her older sister, Jacqueline, told the newspaper. Locatelli had just sent her sister a postcard from her Mediterranean vacation.

"She asked about my health. In the end, she was killed by a jerk," Jacqueline told the newspaper.

Veronique's in-laws were mourned by their hometown of Bram, in southern France.

"We cry this evening for these innocent people who came to spend an evening with their family and then found themselves facing a murder frenzy by this man," Mayor Claudie Mejean said on her Facebook page.

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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 truck 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.

Sean Copeland was a vice president at a software division of Lexmark Inc., a business automation firm, where a former co-worker remembered him as someone 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."

Brodie was in the honor choir and active in sports at Lakeway Elementary School, Principal Sam Hicks said in a statement. Aaron Cable, head of player development for the Hill Country Baseball Club, told the Austin American-Statesman newspaper that Brodie was a mature, funny, "one-of-kind kid" who aspired to be an actor or comedian.

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As the president of an athletic club in his hometown of Marcigny, Robert Marchand was in Nice with some club members for a sports league meeting, according to Le Journal de Saone-et-Loire, a regional newspaper.

He never made it back to his home in east-central France. Marchand, 60, was killed in the attack, Marcigny Mayor Louis Poncet told the newspaper.

He was "a very dedicated man, an enthusiast who elevated the athletic club to its highest level," Poncet said.

Marchand, a married father of a daughter, was also a coach and an all-around good sport. When the club's young athletes put on a show in 2014, Marchand played his part by staging magic tricks with his wife, according to an account at the time in the newspaper Le Pays.

He worked for a company that specializes in security systems for the military, French media said.

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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 named 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 holiday.

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Viktoria Savchenko, 20, was 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, Yulia E., as saying "They had so much fun, walked together. Vika took pictures of her. And suddenly all this horror."

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Fatima Charrihi's son told French news media that she 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 said 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.

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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.

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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.

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Associated Press reporters Jennifer Peltz in New York City; Pamela Sampson in Atlanta; Jeff Donn in Plymouth, Massaschusetts; Daisy Nguyen and Andrew Dalton in Los Angeles; Michael Graczyk in Houston; Juliet Williams in Sacramento; William Kole in Boston; Lindsey Tanner in Chicago; Tammy Webber in Chicago; and Michael Sisak in Philadelphia contributed to this report.