It was supposed to be a dream European vacation for the Texas family — Spain, with stops in Pamplona and Barcelona for flamenco dancing, then east to France, where they would finish the trip in Nice.
On Thursday, they snapped photos as 11-year-old Brodie swam in the Riviera, then joined the crush of spectators on the Promenade des Anglais to watch the Bastille Day fireworks.
That’s when a truck came roaring out of the darkness, plowing through the crowd. Among the 84 people killed in what is now believed to be a terror attack were Brodie and his father, Sean Copeland, 51.
“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,” family spokeswoman Jess Davis told reporters in a statement Friday. “They are so loved.”
Kim Copeland survived the attack that killed her husband and son. So did her two other children, Maegan, 29, and Austin, 22. They remain in Nice.
Three UC Berkeley students were also injured in the attack, and a fourth is missing. The students were part of a 15-day study aboard program.
The Copeland family had traveled to Nice to celebrate a birthday of another relative, said Haley Copeland, a cousin.
“This is an extremely difficult time for my family and anyone who knows Sean and Brodie Copeland,” she posted on Facebook. “Losing a loved one is hard no matter the circumstances, but losing a loved one in such a tragic and unexpected way is unbearable.”
“I don’t even know how to put this in words,” Heather Copeland posted on Twitter. “My uncle Sean and my cousin Brodie were killed today in a terrorist attack in Nice, France, while they were on vacation.”
And then: “I just want my uncle and cousin back.”
Then she posted a photo of Brodie smiling with the rest of them assembled around a table.
“The last time all the cousins were together,” she said. “It will never be the same.”
Sean Copeland attended the University of North Texas in Denton and worked for Lexmark Corp., a technology company, as the vice president of North and South America for its Kapow Software Division.
Losing a loved one is hard no matter the circumstances, but losing a loved one in such a tragic and unexpected way is unbearable.
Brodie played youth football in Dallas and after the family moved to the Austin suburbs, played baseball for the Hill Country Baseball Club. His father coached, and liked to post photos of the two of them on the field together, often with Brodie clutching trophies and signed baseballs.
Jonathan Paiz, head of operations for the baseball club, said Brodie played second base and was known as the “Copeland Crush” because of his hard-hitting style of play.
On Friday, his mother made one of the baseball photos her profile picture: A black and white portrait of Brodie gazing up at his dad.
Condolences poured in from friends in Texas.
“You know how much we love you and Austin and Maegan. We have been praying all night through tears and memories from the past 15 years of our families’ friendship,” Taryn Carter wrote. “I love you dear friend.”
Friends started a GoFundMe page for the family that had already raised several thousand dollars Friday.
“This unthinkable and unfair act of terror took Sean and Brodie from the world far too soon,” Davis said.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott sent his condolences and ordered the French flag flown over the governor’s mansion.
“In the wake of the most recent terrorist attack in France, Texans awoke on Friday morning to even more sad news as it was confirmed that members of a Texas family, Sean Copeland and his son Brodie, were among the victims,” he said in a statement.
“While every heinous attack like this is tragic, this latest one hits close to home. Cecilia and I ask that Texans join us in praying for all of the victims, and especially the Copeland family as they mourn the loss of a devoted father and loving son. Now, more than ever, we must unite with our allies around the globe to end the scourge of radical Islamic terrorism that threatens our freedoms and civilization itself.”
3:31 p.m.: Updated with quote from baseball coach