An Austin-area father and son were two of at least 84 people who were killed Thursday when a truck drove through a crowd celebrating Bastille Day in Nice, France, according to friends and relatives.
Sean Copeland, 51, and his 11-year-old son Brodie were in Nice on a family vacation, the family confirmed through their friend Jess Davis. They died in what French officials are investigating as a likely terrorist attack.
“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.”
They were on a European vacation that started in Pamplona, continued in Barcelona, and they had been celebrating Bastille Day in Nice “when this unthinkable and unfair act of terror took Sean and Brodie from the world far too soon,” Davis said. “It is a terrible loss.”
Sean Copeland worked for Lexmark Corporation, Davis said. He was the vice president of North and South America for Lexmark’s Kapow Software Division.
The family lived in Prosper, Texas, before moving to Lakeway, Texas, Davis said.
“I don’t even know how to put this in words,” Heather Copeland, a niece and cousin of the victims, wrote on Twitter. “My uncle Sean and my cousin Brodie were killed today in a terrorist attack in Nice, France, while they were on vacation.”
In a social-media post, Haley Copeland, another relative, said the family was in Nice celebrating the birthday of a relative. “This is an extremely difficult time for my family and anyone who knows Sean and Brodie Copeland,” she said. “Losing a loved one is hard no matter the circumstances but losing a loved one in suck [sic] a tragic and unexpected way is unbearable.”
News spread quickly Thursday of the death of the father and son. Brodie Copeland played youth baseball and his father coached youth baseball, and members of youth leagues mourned their loss on social media.
“Our hearts are broken for our friends,” reads one post on the social-media page for Help Play It Forward, a nonprofit that provides sports equipment and camps to less-fortunate kids. “There is so much evil in the world.”
“Nobody deserves this type of fate, especially not such a wonderful family,” reads another post, on Hill Country Baseball’s social-media page. “You are in our hearts, thoughts, and prayers. Rest in peace, Brodie and Sean, you will be remembered by many.”