Lorry driver who killed 84 during rampage at Bastille Day celebrations was criminal well known to police

15 JULY 2016 • 9:37AM
Terrorist drives through crowds celebrating Bastille Day in Nice
Lorry speeds for 2km through crowd, killing 84 including children
Witnesses say driver swerved to kill as many victims as possible
He produced gun before being shot dead by police on seafront
Driver ’30-year-old from Nice of Tunisian origin’ known to police
French President Francois Hollande extends state of emergency
Everything we know so far on Friday morning about Nice attack
Men, women and children: Who are the victims of the atrocity?
Gallery: Aftermath of the horrific attack, in pictures

Tourists fled the scene of the Nice terror attack
A French-Tunisian criminal well known to the police for armed attacks used a hired lorry to kill at least 84 people in a terrorist attack during Bastille Day celebrations in Nice, it has emerged.

Many children were among the dead in the Riviera city following a “cowardly and barbaric” atrocity believed to have been carried out by a 30-year-old attacker, who left at least one British national among the injured.

As hundreds remained in hospital, including 18 fighting for their lives in intensive care, anti-terrorist judges opened an investigation into “mass murder” and investigators searched the home of the driver in the Abattoirs area of Nice.

Nice attack aftermath
The driver reportedly zig-zagged his way through the crowds along the promenade CREDIT: MATRIXPICTURES.CO.UK
Sources close to the inquiry said the perpetrator was a local 30-year-old career criminal who was born in Tunisia before moving to France.

His 19 tonne lorry had zigzagged through crowds massing on the Promenade des Anglais on Thursday night, killing anyone he could.

After being stopped by armed police, who fired bullets into the lorry’s windscreen, the so far unnamed man exchanged fire with officers using a 7.65 pistol, before being shot dead.

French police forces and forensic officers stand next to a truck that ran into a crowd celebrating Bastille Day
French police forces and forensic officers stand next to a truck that ran into a crowd celebrating Bastille Day CREDIT: ERIC GAILLARD
“He was known to the police for violence, and using weapons, but had no direct links with terrorism,” said an investigating source. “His identity car was found in the lorry. He had French and Tunisian nationality.”

A search of the vehicle uncovered a pistol, a larger gun, and a number of fake weapons and grenades.

Debris left on the promenade after the terror attack that killed dozens in Nice
Debris left on the promenade after the terror attack that killed dozens in Nice CREDIT: REX/SHUTTERSTOCK
The fact that the killer was known to the authorities will be of grave concern to those trying to prevent terrorist attacks in France.

A recent Paris parliamentary investigation into last year’s attacks identified multiple failings by France’s intelligence agencies.

Wounded people are evacuated from the scene
Wounded people are evacuated from the scene CREDIT: OLIVIER ANRIGO
As the United Nations issued a statement calling the latest “cowardly and barbaric”, French Prime Minister Manuel Valls tweeted: “The city of Nice has been hit by terrorism on the day of our national holiday. Immense pain, the country is in mourning. The French will face it.”

President Francois Hollande meanwhile spoke of a “monstrosity”, and said soldiers would be deployed to support gendarmes and police, particularly at the country’s borders.

A State of Emergency imposed last year after almost 150 people were killed during attacks on Paris would be extended to July 26th, Mr Hollande added.

Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve meanwhile said: “We are at war with terrorists who want to strike us at any cost and who are extremely violent.”

Nice witness: I grabbed my fiance and ranPlay! 01:16
Tony Molina, an American witness to the attack, told CNN: “There was still a crowd of people and then you just see this big white panel truck, I couldn’t see the driver, but it just kept going at different angles from left to right at 25 to 30 miles and hour.

“People were screaming and running. I work in homicide and I’ve never seen anything like this. It’s unbelievable.”

Aerial footage shows aftermath of Nice truck attackPlay! 00:28
The Promenade Anglais was packed on what is traditionally the biggest public holiday in France, when the man struck soon after 10.45am.

The white lorry mounted the pavement repeatedly at approximately 40mph and steered directly towards men, women, and children, some of whom were still dressed for the beach.

Tourists fled the scene of the Nice terror attack
Tourists fled the scene of the Nice terror attack CREDIT: SIPA/REX/SHUTTERSTOCK
Locals were advised to stay indoors as soldiers and anti-terrorist police flooded the area.

British holidaymaker Esther Serwah, 59, was staying in a hotel a short walk from the scene.

She said she had been on her way to the Promenade des Anglais for dinner with her daughters when people started screaming at her.

People cross the street with their hands on thier heads as a French soldier secures the area
People cross the street with their hands on thier heads as a French soldier secures the area CREDIT: JEAN-PIERRE AMET/REUTERS
Mrs Serwah, from Surrey, said: “I was just walking to the Promenade and then I saw everybody running and I just didn’t know what was going on. People were screaming at me in French but I didn’t understand.

“Some people were lying on the streets dead and people were running over the bodies. Everybody was saying it’s a terrorist attack. It’s just horrible, horrible, horrible. I’m in shock. I’m still shaking.”

Bastille Day revellers flee scene of truck attack in NicePlay! 01:23
Bastille Day, which celebrates the storming of the Bastille prison in Paris during the French Revolution of 1789, is the country’s biggest public holiday.

Auto update
Father and son, 11, on dream holiday among the victims
An American father and son on a dream trip to the South of France were among the victims killed in the Nice terror attack, according to friends and family.

Sean Copeland, 51 and his 11-year-old son Brodie from Austin, Texas, had been on holiday when the lorry was driven into crowds.

Brodie Copeland, 11, and his father Sean Copeland
Brodie Copeland, 11, and his father Sean Copeland
Confirming the deaths, his niece, Hayley Copeland wrote on Facebook: “This is an extremely difficult time for my family and anyone who knows Sean and Brodie Copeland.

“Losing a loved one is hard no matter the circumstances but losing a loved one in such a tragic and unexpected way is unbearable. Prayers are much appreciated.”

Chinese president expresses ‘strong condemnation’ in phone call with President Hollande
Chinese president Xi Jinping strongly condemned the attack in Nice in a phone call with French President François Hollande, China Correspondent Neil Connor reports from Beijing.

Mr Xi expressed to his French counterpart “strong condemnation to this shocking, brutal act, sent deep grievances to the dead, as well as sincere condolences to the injured and family members of victims,” Chinese reports said.

“China firmly opposes terrorism in any form,” the Chinese president added. Li Keqiang, China’s prime minister, expressed “deep mourning” for the dead.

China’s number two official also sent “sincere condolences to the injured and family members of victims.”

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said: “The Chinese people stand in firm solidarity with the French people.”

Meanwhile, authorities confirmed that two Chinese nationals were injured in the attack.

Investigators search Nice home of lorry driver
Investigators are searching the home of the driver of the lorry in the Abattoirs area of Nice, reports Jannat Jalil in Toulouse.

Briton among those injured in Nice attack
At least one British national is among those injured in the attack in Nice, France, Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson has said.

He said “our thoughts are very much with the people of France and Nice” after this “absolutely appalling incident”.

Boris: Our thoughts are with people of FrancePlay! 00:54
Video: Francois Hollande to extend state of emergency
French President Francois Hollande has sthe country’s state of emergency would be extended for another three months.

He said the country’s borders were being tightened, as he vowed that France would show “real force and military action in Syria and Iraq”.

Francois Hollande to extend national state of emergencyPlay! 01:05
Foreign Office urges Britons in Nice to stay indoors
The Foreign Office has updated its travel advice to Britons around Nice, advising them to stay indoors, reports Ben Farmer.

It said: “We are in touch with the local authorities and seeking more information following an apparent attack on Bastille Day celebration in Nice.

“If you are in the area follow the instructions of the French authorities who are at present advising people to stay indoors at this time.”

Archbishop of Canterbury: Human evil kills the innocent cruelly
Justin Welby, the Archbishop of Canterbury, asked people via Twitter to pray for Nice:

Justin Welby ن ✔ @JustinWelby
As the French rejoice in their liberty, human evil kills the innocent cruelly. Let us weep with them, let us stand with them #PrayForNice
1:24 PM – 15 Jul 2016
322 322 Retweets 292 292 likes
One Russian victim among the dead
A Russian woman was killed and her friend hurt in the Nice attack, Russian news agencies said on Friday, quoting Irina Tyurina, spokeswoman for the Russian Union of Travel Industry. Ms Tyurina said she got the information from insurance agencies.

“Two friends from Russia were taking a walk on the Promenade des Anglais. One was killed by the truck, the other lightly injured, she’s got broken toes and some other minor injuries,” Ms Tyurina said.

Thousands of Russian tourists are estimated to be holidaymaking in Nice.

Regional president: Attacker must have had accomplices
Christian Estrosi, the regional president in Nice, said some of the city’s 1,200 security cameras had pinpointed the moment the attacker boarded the truck, far from the seaside “in the hills of Nice” and could follow his path to the promenade. Mr Estrosi called for the investigation to focus on any accomplices.

“Attacks aren’t prepared alone. Attacks are prepared with accomplices,” Mr Estrosi said. “There is a chain of complicity. I expect it to be unveiled, discovered and kept up to date.”

Mr Estrosi said more than 10 children were among the dead and he said France needed to think carefully about its next response to attacks, as previous responses were not enough to protect the people.

Owen Smith cancels campaign launch
The Labour leadership candidate has cancelled his scheduled campaign launch today in light of the attack.

Owen Smith ✔ @OwenSmith_MP
In light of the heartbreaking news from Nice, I am cancelling today’s campaign launch. Solidarité et fraternité avec le peuple Français.
12:00 PM – 15 Jul 2016
185 185 Retweets 284 284 likes
Putin sends message of condolence
Russian President Vladimir Putin sent a message of condolences to his French counterpart Francois Hollande over mass killings in the French city of Nice, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov has said.

Witness: I grabbed my fiance and ran
American witness Kayla Repan has described the moment the attack began and she and her fiance ran for safety.

Nice witness: I grabbed my fiance and ranPlay! 01:16
President Hollande and Prime Minister Valls to head to Nice today
President Francois Hollande and Prime Minister Manuel Valls are going to Nice today.

Christian Estrosi, the president of region and former mayor of Nice, has questioned the readiness of security forces, saying insufficient forces had been deployed.

Chris Froome sends message of condolence
Tour de France riders including race leader Chris Froome sent messages of support to the victims of the deadly attack in Nice, although organizers did not immediately say whether cycling’s showpiece event will continue as planned.

Froome posted a picture of the blue, white and red French flag on Twitter and wrote: “Thoughts are with those affected by the horrific terror attack in Nice.”

View image on Twitter
View image on Twitter
Chris Froome ✔ @chrisfroome
Thoughts are with those affected by the horrific terror attack in Nice
10:51 AM – 15 Jul 2016
1,457 1,457 Retweets 3,379 3,379 likes
Marseille cancels fireworks show
The city of Marseille has canceled its fireworks show today. The seaside city, one of France’s largest, is not far from Nice.

American victims identified on social media
An American man and his 11-year old son who were on holiday have been identified on social media as two of the victims of Thursday night’s attack.

View image on TwitterView image on TwitterView image on Twitter
heather copeland @_hcopeland

PrayForNice #PrayersForFrance

8:35 AM – 15 Jul 2016
59 59 Retweets 81 81 likes
How papers reacted in France
Following France’s third devastating terrorist attack within 18 months, here is how the French press reacted to events in Nice.

Nice Matin

Cyril Petit ✔ @CyrilPetit
“L’horreur” à la une des journaux français ce vendredi matin. #Nice06 pic.twitter.com/4gN6TqhCuz
Cyril Petit ✔ @CyrilPetit
“Carnage à Nice” en une de @Nice_Matin, qui a passé son logo en noir ce vendredi et fait 9 pages sur la tragédie. pic.twitter.com/7gDIkpCvRJ
6:27 AM – 15 Jul 2016
View image on Twitter
12 12 Retweets 3 3 likes
La Provence

Cyril Petit ✔ @CyrilPetit
“L’horreur” à la une des journaux français ce vendredi matin. #Nice06 pic.twitter.com/4gN6TqhCuz
Cyril Petit ✔ @CyrilPetit
Encore le même mot : “L’horreur” barre la une de “La Provence”. pic.twitter.com/IUnhoNflU8
6:06 AM – 15 Jul 2016
View image on Twitter
3 3 Retweets likes
Le Parisien

View image on Twitter
View image on Twitter
Cyril Petit ✔ @CyrilPetit
“L’horreur à Nice”, à la une du Parisien de ce vendredi. #Nice06
4:28 AM – 15 Jul 2016
247 247 Retweets 60 60 likes
Angela Merkel says Germany will stand by France in “fight against terrorism”
The German Chancellor has condemned the attack in Nice, saying Germany would stand by France’s side in the “fight against terrorism”. Speaking from the ASEM summit in Mongolia, she said:

All of us who have come together at the ASEM summit are united in our feeling of disbelief at the attack of mass murder in Nice.

Germany stands in the fight against terrorism at France’s side, united with many, many others. I am convinced that, despite all the difficulties, we shall win this fight.

Videos continue to emerge from eye-witnesses
Here you see the moment the white van ploughed into the crowd, as pedestrians fled the scene.

The gunman killed 84 people and wounded many others when he drove a heavy truck at high speed into the crowd watching the Bastille Day fireworks in Nice.

Horrifying moment truck ploughs into crowd in NicePlay! 00:37
Boris Johnson ‘shocked and saddened’ by Nice attack
Boris Johnson, the new Foreign Minister, has expressed his sadness at the Nice attack, saying he is shocked and saddened by the “appalling” events in Nice and the “terrible loss of life”.

Boris Johnson ✔ @BorisJohnson
Shocked and saddened by the appalling events in Nice, and the terrible loss of life.
6:22 AM – 15 Jul 2016
1,020 1,020 Retweets 1,866 1,866 likes

Death toll rises
The death toll has risen to 84, according to French interior ministry spokesman Pierre-Henry Brande, with another 18 in a “critical condition”.

Gunman was known to police
The truck driver was known to French police for common law crimes such as theft and violence, according to police sources, but not to the intelligence services.

Update on gunman’s weapons
The truck driver who rammed his vehicle into a massive crowd in Nice fired a pistol several times before being shot dead by police, a local official said Friday.

“At the moment that he was shot dead by police, he had fired several times,” said president of the region Christian Estrosi.

A source close to the investigation said an “inactive” grenade was found inside the 19-tonne truck, as well as “several fake rifles”.

Regional lawmaker Eric Ciotti described “terrifying images, a scene of absolute horror, with many children among the dead”.

“Families who were sharing a moment of leisure were targeted. It was a symbolic day in a symbolic place. That… motivated the attack,” he said.

View image on Twitter
View image on Twitter
Nice-Matin ✔ @Nice_Matin
Des blessés par balle aux urgence de Nice #AttentatNice http://www.nicematin.com/faits-divers/panique-et-confusion-sur-la-prom-apres-quun-camion-a-fonce-sur-la-foule-apres-le-feu-dartifice-64846 …
5:36 AM – 15 Jul 2016
140 140 Retweets 33 33 likes

Facebook activates Safety Check after Nice attack to help people find missing friends and families
View image on Twitter
View image on Twitter

TECH Facebook activates Safety Check after truck attack kills dozens in Nice, France http://cnet.co/29GSRn9 pic.twitter.com/11Xyt8Zp1E #Ne…

6:28 AM – 15 Jul 2016
6 6 Retweets 6 6 likes

Latest Foreign Office statement
A Foreign Office spokeswoman said: “We are deeply concerned about reports of an incident in Nice and are in touch with the local authorities to seek more information.

“Our thoughts are with those affected and we stand by to help any British nationals.”

Boris Johnson ‘shocked and saddened’
Britain’s new Foreign Secretary tweets:

Boris Johnson ✔ @BorisJohnson
Shocked and saddened by the appalling events in Nice, and the terrible loss of life.
6:22 AM – 15 Jul 2016
1,020 1,020 Retweets 1,866 1,866 likes

British Embassy crisis centre activated
British ambassador to France Julian King said that the embassy crisis centre had been activated, and tweeted: “Thoughts with the victims and their families.”

It was unclear on Friday morning if any of the victims were British.

UK in France ✔ @UKinFrance
Attack on Bastille Day celebration in Nice. If in the area follow instructions of French authorities. Our 24 hour number is +33144513100
4:41 AM – 15 Jul 2016
482 482 Retweets 94 94 likes
In a statement, Australian prime minister Malcolm Turnball said that just a few hours before the attack, servicemen and women from Australia and New Zealand had led the Bastille Day parade in Paris.

He said: “We mourn for the victims of another murderous act of terror in France overnight, on Bastille Day.”

The United Nations Security Council issued a statement condemning the “barbaric and cowardly terrorist attack” and underlined “the need to bring the perpetrators of these terrorist acts to justice”.

Newt Gingrich: ‘Western elites who lack the guts to do what is right, to do what is necessary.
The Republican former US House speaker and Trump ally has been speaking to Fox News:

Fox News ✔ @FoxNews
.@newtgingrich on terror attacks: “This is the fault of Western elites who lack the guts to do what is right, to do what is necessary…”
7:56 AM – 15 Jul 2016
1,308 1,308 Retweets 2,273 2,273 likes
View image on Twitter
View image on Twitter
Fox News ✔ @FoxNews
.@newtgingrich on fighting terror: “We better rethink the rules, or we are going to lose the war.” #Hannity
8:01 AM – 15 Jul 2016
1,211 1,211 Retweets 2,247 2,247 likes
Fox News ✔ @FoxNews
.@newtgingrich: “We should…test every person here who is of a Muslim background, & if they believe in shariah they should be deported.”
7:53 AM – 15 Jul 2016
1,963 1,963 Retweets 2,771 2,771 likes

‘We are in a war’
Mr Cazeneuve refused to confirm reports that an ID card was found after police shot the truck driver dead.

“The identification of the criminal is in progress. We are in a war with terrorists who want to strike us at any price and in a very violent way.”

Reports have said the driver was a 31-year-old man from Nice of Tunisian origin.

18 in critical condition
Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve told reporters on the scene that the death toll stood at 80, with scores injured including 18 in “critical condition”.

An injured woman is taken away after the attack in Nice.
An injured woman is taken away after the attack in Nice. CREDIT: EPA

Death roll rises
The French interior minister says the death toll has now risen to 80.

Hollande calls up reservists
French President Francois Hollande has vowed to strengthen his country’s role in the fight against the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria after a deadly attack on Nice, which has not been claimed by any group.

“Nothing will make us yield in our will to fight terrorism. We will further strengthen our actions in Iraq and in Syria. We will continue striking those who attack us on our own soil,” he said, in reference to the Islamic State group.

He also said he had called on reservists to boost the ranks of police and gendarmes. France’s “operational reservists” include French citizens with or without military experience as well as former soldiers. Mr Hollande said they would in particular be used to boost “border controls”.

Francois Hollande addresses the nation.
Francois Hollande addresses the nation. CREDIT: AP
‘Real force in Syria’
Hollande added: “Following this, we will show real force and military action in Syria and Iraq.

State of emergency extended
Hollande says the state of emergency that was due to end on July 26th has been extended by three months. The French president said the “terrorist nature” of Nice attack was “undeniable”.

Hollande: ‘We have seen extreme violence’
Francois Hollande is addressing the nation. He says 77 people have been killed, including children.

“We have seen extreme violence and it’s obvious we must do everything to fight this terrorism”

Identity papers found in truck
AFP is also reporting that the driver was a French-Tunisian man,

A police source told the agency that identity papers belonging to a 31-year-old were found inside the truck which barrelled through the crowd.

“The identification of the truck driver is still underway,” said the source. The identity papers indicate the man is a resident of Nice.

Clinton calls it a “horrific attack”
Hillary Clinton, the Democratic presumptive presidential candidate, told CNN that she is “sick at heart about what’s happened to the French people, this is a horrific attack”.

“It reminds us very vividly and tragically, that we need to stand with our allies and not abandon them and we have to strengthen our alliances, including with Nato, not undermine them.

“Clearly terrorist groups are seeing they have opportunities inside France for both homegrown terrorism and importing terrorists…”

‘Driver was 31-year-old from Nice’
The local newspaper, Nice-Matin, reports that the man driving the truck was a 31-year-old Nice resident of Tunisian origin.

The truck driver was said to have shouted ‘Allahu Akbar’ — God is greatest — before being shot dead by police.

View image on Twitter
View image on Twitter
Nice-Matin ✔ @Nice_Matin
INFO NICE-MATIN. Un Niçois d’origine tunisienne au volant du camion #AttentatNice http://www.nicematin.com/faits-divers/info-nice-matin-un-nicois-dorigine-tunisienne-au-volant-du-camion-64855 …
6:32 AM – 15 Jul 2016
594 594 Retweets 148 148 likes
Events cancelled
The president of the region that includes Nice has announced that the city’s jazz festival, due to open on Saturday, and a Rihanna concert planned for Friday evening, have both been cancelled after the deadly truck attack.

Christian Estrosi said flags would be lowered across the city on Friday.

Christian Estrosi ✔ @cestrosi
Dès demain les drapeaux de la ville seront en berne. Après l’annulation du concert de Rihanna, le festival du jazz est annulé.
6:27 AM – 15 Jul 2016
664 664 Retweets 295 295 likes
How the British press reacted
View image on Twitter
View image on Twitter
Nick Sutton ✔ @suttonnick
Updated Telegraph front page:
Dozens killed as terror strikes French Riviera#tomorrowspaperstoday #bbcpapers #Nice
4:39 AM – 15 Jul 2016
59 59 Retweets 28 28 likes