UC Berkeley student is confirmed dead in Nice terror attack
A UC Berkeley student missing in Nice since Thursday’s terror attack has been confirmed dead, according to university officials.
Nicolas Leslie, 20, was on a study abroad program and had gone to the city’s promenade to watch the Bastille Day celebration when a truck raced through the packed crowd, killing 84 and injuring more than 200.
Three other UC Berkeley students were injured in the attack, two with broken legs and one with a broken foot.
But Leslie was missing, prompting a frantic search by the university, local officials and family.
French officials confirmed his death on Sunday, according to a statement released by the university.
Leslie is the second UC Berkeley student killed in a terrorist attack this summer. Sophomore Tarishi Jain was killed in an attack on a restaurant in Dhaka, Bangladesh about two weeks ago.
“This is tragic, devastating news,” UC Berkeley Chancellor Nicholas Dirks said Sunday. “All of us in the UC Berkeley family — both here on campus, and around the world — are heartbroken to learn that another promising young student has been lost to senseless violence.”
Leslie’s Facebook page said he was from Milan, Italy. He had been living in Southern California and attended Torrey Pines High School in San Diego, before heading to Berkeley.
Leslie’s mother, who is Italian, dispatched family and friends in Europe to check hospitals to try to find her son, according to a family friend who was with her at her Del Mar home Friday. The friend asked to be identified only by her first name, Antonella, to protect her privacy as well as the family’s.
Leslie was an only child who was “adored by everyone” who knew him, said Antonella, who described him as “a wonderful, caring young adult, extremely motivated.”
Leslie’s uncle and aunt searched the hospitals of Nice, with no luck, according to published reports.
The 20-ton truck, driven by 31-year-old Mohamed Lahouaiej Bouhlel, a Tunisian man living in Nice, plowed through the crowd gathered on the city’s promenade for the Bastille Day celebration. The truck traveled nearly a mile, crushing people along the way, before police were able to shoot and kill Bouhlel.
Identifying all of the victims has been a slow, painstaking process. French investigators informed the FBI that Leslie was among the dead Sunday, according to the university’s statement.
Leslie, a junior, had been studying environmental science. He was one of 85 Berkeley students participating in a summer entrepreneurship program in Nice. Two other students injured in the attack have been released from the hospital and returned to their dorms. A third injured student remains hospitalized with a broken leg.
The school said a vigil will be held for Leslie on the Berkeley campus at 4:30 p.m. Monday.
Times staff writer Veronica Rocha contributed to this report.
7:15 p.m.: This article has been updated with additional details.
This article was originally published at 5:10 p.m.
The stories shaping California
Get up to speed with our Essential California newsletter, sent six days a week.
You may occasionally receive promotional content from the Los Angeles Times.