Terror in Spain: the lives cut short by madmen in a van
The victims – who also include over 120 people wounded in the attacks – come from nearly three dozen countries
An Italian father who saved his children’s lives but lost his own. An American celebrating his first wedding anniversary. A Portuguese woman celebrating her birthday with her granddaughter.
These were some of the 14 people from around the world killed in vehicle attacks in Barcelona and the nearby seaside resort of Cambrils on Thursday and early Friday. They spanned generations – from age 3 to age 80 – and leave behind devastated loved ones. The victims – who also include over 120 people wounded in the attacks – come from nearly three dozen countries.
Here is a look at some of them:
Francisco Lopez Rodriguez, 57, and Javier Martinez, 3, Spain
Francisco Lopez Rodriguez was killed with his 3-year-old grand-nephew, Javier Martinez, while walking along the Las Ramblas promenade in Barcelona.
Lopez was accompanied by his wife Roser – who is recovering from her wounds in a hospital – her niece and the niece’s two children, one of them Javier.
“He was a lovely man, kind and charitable. Everyone loved him,” said 81-year-old Natalia Moreno Perez from Lopez’s native town of Lanteira, some 700 inhabitants outside Granada in southern Spain.
“I knew him from when he was a kid, always telling jokes,” said Natalia.
“Terrible news, the town is in mourning.”
Lopez emigrated from the town with his family in the 1960s to seek work. He lived in Rubi, a migrant town of 75,000 people northwest of Barcelona, and had been visiting the Catalan capital.
Leading newspaper El País said Lopez worked as a metal worker in Rubi and had been walking back from Barcelona port area when the van burst onto Las Ramblas.
“We are a broken family,” niece Raquel Baron Lopez posted on Twitter.
Granddaughter and grandmother, 20 and 74, Portugal
The two were in Barcelona to celebrate the grandmother’s birthday when they were caught up in the horror on Las Ramblas, according to Portuguese media reports.
They had arrived in the city for a week’s holiday just a few hours before they were killed, Jose Luis Carneiro, Lisbon’s secretary of state for Portuguese communities abroad, told reporters.
The older woman was reported dead Friday, while the younger woman was initially reported as missing before finally being identified Saturday.
Those hours left her parents in a painful limbo, Carneiro said.
The parents are “broken-hearted,” Carneiro said. “Firstly, because they were caught by surprise by the death of the man’s mother and then spent hours not knowing what had happened to their daughter. It’s very tragic.”
The family’s names were not released.
Watch: Flowers and tributes for victims in Spain
Pepita Codina, 75, Spain
Pepita Codina’s death was confirmed by Xavier Vilamala, the mayor of Hipolit de Voldrega, the town of 3,000 people where she was from near Barcelona.
Vilamala said on Twitter he was “very sad and distressed” by the news.
Local media reported that Codina’s daughter, Elisabet, was injured in the attack, but is currently out of danger at Hospital del Marin Barcelona.
Bruno Gulotta, 35, Italy
A father from Legnano in northern Italy is being praised as a hero who protected his children during an attack in Barcelona.
One of his Gulotta’s work colleagues, Pino Bruno, told the Italian news agency ANSA that he saved the life of his two young children – Alessandro, 6, and Aria, 7 months – by throwing himself between them and the van that mowed people down.
Bruno said he spoke to Gulotta’s wife, Martina, and she told him her husband had been holding the 6-year-old’s hand on the tourist-thronged avenue in Barcelona when “the van appeared suddenly.”
“Everyone knelt down, instinctively, as if to protect themselves,” Bruno said, adding that Gulotta put himself in front of his children and was fatally struck.
Gulotta was a sales manager for Tom’s Hardware Italia, an online publication about technology. “Rest in peace, Bruno, and protect your loved ones from up high,” read one tribute on the company’s website.
Watch: security footage captures Barcelona van
Carmen Lopardo, 80, Italy
Lopardo, apparently the oldest person to die in the attack, was among three Italians killed in Barcelona, according to Italy’s foreign ministry.
In a statement, it said Lopardo was killed in the “vile terrorist attack in Barcelona,” without providing details.
News reports said Lopardo was an Italian who had immigrated to Argentina in 1950 and was visiting Barcelona.
Silvina Alejandra Pereyra, 40, Argentina and Spain
Argentina’s Foreign Ministry says Pereyra, an Argentine-Spanish dual citizen who living in Barcelona for the last 10 years, is among those who died.
It says in a statement that her death was confirmed through family members living in Bolivia after a cousin identified her body at a morgue in Barcelona.
The Argentine government expressed its deep regret over the pain caused to Pereyra’s family and friends and said its diplomatic missions in Barcelona and Madrid are working to assist.
Luca Russo, 25, Italy
One of Italy’s three victims in the Barcelona van attack is being mourned as a brilliant young engineer dragged to his death before his girlfriend’s eyes.
A determined Luca Russo, 25, already had a job in electronic engineering, no easy feat in Italy, where youth unemployment runs stubbornly high.
“We were investing in him, we wanted to make him grow professionally,” the Italian news agency ANSA quoted Stefano Facchinello, one of the partners in the Padua area company where Russo had worked for a year, as saying.
The girlfriend, Marta Scomazzon, who was hospitalised with a fractured foot and elbow, told an aunt that “we were walking together, then the van came on top of us.”
Ana Maria Suarez, Spain
The Spanish royal family sent condolences to Suarez’s family in its Twitter account after Ana Maria died in the attack in the resort town of Cambrils.
According to local media, the woman was originally from the city of Zaragoza, and was on holiday with her family. Her husband and one of her sisters are injured in a hospital.
She is the only civilian to have been killed in Cambrils, where attackers wearing fake explosives belts were shot to death by police.
Jared Tucker, 42, United States
California resident Jared Tucker, 42, and his wife were ending their European holiday in Barcelona after visiting Paris and Venice, and were on their way to a beach when they decided to stop at a cafe on La Rambla.
Soon after her husband left to use the restroom “all mayhem broke out,” Heidi Nunes-Tucker told NBC News. She said she could not find her husband at first, and the friend they were staying with helped her search.
Later, they learnt that he was among those killed in the truck attack in Barcelona, the only known American fatality.
Nunes-Tucker, 40, called her husband “truly the love of my life,” and says she’s struggling to make sense of the violence.
“It’s hard not to be angry,” she said. “It’s confusing why anybody would want to hurt anybody like that.”
Tucker’s father, Daniel Tucker, said the couple had saved for the holiday to celebrate their one-year wedding anniversary, and had sent joyful pictures, the last of which arrived a day before the tragedy.
Jared Tucker, who worked with his father in a family business remodelling swimming pools, had “a magnetic personality and people loved him,” his father said. He liked to fish, play golf and other sports and he was deeply in love with his wife, a schoolteacher.
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson expressed condolences to the victim’s family.
Jared Tucker leaves behind three daughters, his sister said in a message on a fundraising website.
Elke Vanbockrijck, Belgium
The local soccer club in her hometown of Tongeren held a moment of silence Friday night for Vanbockrijck, as members honoured a woman who clearly left her mark on the team.
She was at the KFC Heur Tongeren soccer club “nearly every day” ferrying her 10- and 14-year-old boys back and forth to training and matches, said team president Arnould Partoens.
The family was on holiday in Barcelona. The boys and their father, a policeman, were unhurt, he said.
Team vice-president Herwig Dessers said coaches and players would stand in silence to remember her over the next few days “and talk to the children about what happened.”
A picture of Vanbockrijck now rests on the bar inside the clubhouse.
Julian Cadman, 7, Australia and Philippines
Uncertainty surrounded the case of a 7-year-old boy whose mother was badly wounded in the Barcelona attack.
The Australian and Philippines governments said the boy was missing and his British father had gone to search for him. Catalan police, however, said all victims were accounted for and no one was missing. Spanish media reported the boy was in a Barcelona hospital.
He and his mother were in Barcelona to attend the wedding of a cousin from the Philippines, according to Philippines undersecretary Sarah Arriola.
The mother, a 43-year-old Filipino woman, was hospitalised. She had been based in Australia for the past three or four years, Arriolo said.
Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has asked people to pray for the boy, who has Australian citizenship.
“All of us as parents know the anguish his father is going through, and his whole family is going through, as they rush to seek to find him in Barcelona,” Turnbull said.