A father and son from the Austin area were among the scores killed in Thursday's truck attack in the French city of Nice, NBC News reported.
A family representative told NBC News that 51-year-old Sean Copeland and his 11-year-old son Brodie were killed. The Copelands lived in Lakeway and Brodie had just finished the fifth grade.
"This is a very difficult time for our family as you can imagine but we are holding all comments until we are able to get our family back home," Sean's brother Troy told NBC News. "Thank you for your understanding."
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An earlier statement released by friend Jess Davis said the family was "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 both "are so loved."
Davis told the Austin American-Statesman the family had been on a European vacation and visited Pamplona and Barcelona before arriving in Nice to celebrate Bastille Day, France's national independence day.
The trip was partly a celebration of the birthdays of Sean Copeland’s wife, Kim, and his son from an earlier marriage, Austin. Kim Copeland, Austin Copeland and his sister, Maegan, are still in Nice. Two of Sean's brothers are to fly to there to bring the family home, the family said.
Late Friday afternoon, the Copeland family released the following statement:
Last night we watched the horrific event in Nice, France, where our beloved family members Sean, Kim, Austin, Maegan and Brodie were vacationing. Our worst fears were realized as we soon thereafter learned that we had lost Sean and Brodie in the attack. Our lives, along with so many others' in France, have been changed forever. The overwhelming support we have received from friends and strangers has been comforting, and we deeply appreciate your condolences and prayers. Our hearts go out to all of those in France and elsewhere who have loved ones lost or injured in this event, and we pray for each of you. We will not be offering any further public comment at this time, and we hope that you understand and will respect our privacy.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said in a statement Friday that the deaths of the father and son, along with at least 82 others in Nice, means "we must unite with our allies around the globe to end the scourge of radical Islamic terrorism."
The governor's statement said the French flag is being flown over the governor's mansion to remember the victims in Thursday night's attack.
Copeland was a vice president at the Lexmark Corporation. The family had lived in the Dallas area, in Prosper, before moving to Lakeway.
[NATL]Truck Drives Into Crowd at Bastille Day Celebration in Nice, France
Members of the Hill Country Baseball Club posted on Facebook a photo of Brodie playing in the water, saying it was sent from the French Riviera the same day as the attack.
"Nobody deserves this type of fate, especially not such a wonderful family," the club wrote. "You are in our hearts, thoughts, and prayers. Rest in peace, Brodie and Sean, you will be remembered by many."
A niece, Heather Copeland, tweeted about their deaths, and asked for prayers for her family and all of the victims of the attack.
The superintendent of the Lake Travis Independent School District, Brad Lancaster, said that he did not yet know whether the district would hold a vigil or memorial for Brodie Copeland. He would first want to talk to the family, he said.
But he said that he did know that the community would embrace the Copelands when they returned.
"They will be well loved….most importantly well prayed over," Lancaster said.
Fifth-grade teacher Coleen Serfoss said that she would find it extremely difficult to explain what had happened to the other children. Of Brodie's death, she said: "I was hoping it was a dream."
At least 84 people have died, 10 of those children and teenagers, after a man driving a rented refrigerator truck plowed through the crowd of people celebrating Bastille Day.