Jared Tucker was just another tourist to Barcelona, Spain at first, traveling with his wife, Heidi Nunes-Tucker, to celebrate their first wedding anniversary.
The pair stopped to look at trinkets, Jared had to go to the bathroom, and that was the last time Heidi saw him alive. Tragically, the pool company owner from Lafayette, California is now listed among the 14 dead from the ISIS-affiliated terrorist attack along a prominent tourism promenade in Barcelona.
Tucker, 42, was identified as the American who was killed in the attack after his family and wife spent a desperate day searching for him. Jared and his wife, Heidi, were supposed to return to America on August 18. Instead, she is in Barcelona, waiting for family members to join her as she grieves.
There is a GoFundMe site established to help Jared’s family.
Some photos have emerged of Tucker, who was fondly remembered by friends for his shock of surfer blonde hair and his height, as well as his caring personality and love of backpacking. Here is a wedding photo his wife posted on Facebook:
Here’s another shot:
A Bay area reporter also posted photos of Jared Tucker on Twitter.
The photo of Jared and his wife at dinner was the most widely circulated. Here’s a fuller view of it. The photo of the couple below was taken one hour before the attack.
The U.S. State Department said one American was killed and, although he was initially reported as missing, relatives of Jared Tucker now say that his death has been confirmed. Tucker, 42, of Lafayette, in California, was visiting Barcelona with his wife, Heidi Nunes Tucker, when the terrorist attack occurred, according to KTVU. Tucker lived in the San Francisco Bay area.
Police in Spain are still sorting out the terrorists’ identities, although it’s been reported they were an ISIS cell. A second attack was thwarted in nearby Cabrils, leading to five more terrorists’ deaths. There was also an explosion in a home shortly before the Barcelona attack that Spanish police now believe was a botched attempt by the terrorist cell to prepare a bomb. At least three terrorists are believed involved in the Barcelona part of the attack.
Jared and Heidi Tucker were on a two-week European vacation when the terrorists struck. According to KTVU-TV, they were in Spain to celebrate their first wedding anniversary.
Horribly, Heidi couldn’t find Jared during the chaos. “She returned to the Promenade in Barcelona in the hopes of finding out what happened to him. Friends of the couple have gone on social media trying to get out the word,” KTVU reported, but he was nowhere to be found.
“I don’t know how you feel. I’m not angry, necessarily. But more important, I just don’t understand it,” Jared’s father told NBC reporter Jodi Hernandez. “It’s just hard to understand how anything like that could happen. And what’s really bizarre is what are the chances of one person in the whole United States being in Barcelona and being involved out of the 13 people fatally attacked by the terrorists, would be Jared. His first time in Europe.
“My mother is boarding a flight tonight to be with (Tucker’s) wife tomorrow,” Tucker’s nephew, Paul Luke, said in a Reddit thread on locating Tucker, according to SFGate. “… Jared’s burial wishes were to be cremated, but that cannot be done until the investigations have finished.”
According to SFGate, “Luke posted photos on Reddit from the plaza after the attack showing a man wearing a blue shirt and khaki shorts, lying on the ground with blood on his head. Another photo posted by Luke showed Tucker wearing the same outfit before the attack. His arm is wrapped around Nunez, and they’re both smiling.”
Tucker “owns a pool company in Martinez that he runs with his father, and his wife is a sixth grade teacher at El Sobrante Christian School,” reported KTVU. The website for that company says it’s located in California and handles fiberglass pool resurfacing projects.
Friends and family posted tributes to Tucker on social media. Wrote one woman, “Grew up knowing Jared and his wonderful family from church and school. Keeping Jared and his family in our prayers.” Eric Janson wrote on Facebook, “This has hit home now. I’ve known Jared Tucker since high school. I’ve done many a backpacking trips with him. He’d be one of the tallest people in #Barcelona and easy to spot with his surfer blond hair. It’s sounds like he was on the #LasRamblas when the attack happened.”
The Spanish-language site, El Pais, says that police have accused Moussa Oukabir, an 18-year-old man of Moroccan heritage, of being the lead attacker who was driving the van. However, there are some accounts that say they are still not quite sure what role he allegedly played.
Social media accounts attributed to Moussa Oukabir show he shared posts about genocide in Aleppo, Muslims, and allegedly wrote about killing infidels and leaving only Muslims. His brother, Driss Oukabir, was identified early on by authorities as a suspect, and was later reported to also be under arrest. Driss Oukabir alleged his identity papers were stolen, perhaps by his brother. It’s not clear at this point what role, if any, he played.
As Jared Tucker’s father seemed to note, it could have been anyone. According to ABC News, Tucker was buying “trinkets” with his wife when the van rammed into people on the popular tourist promenade in Barcelona. Then, he left to go to the bathroom.
Tucker’s brother-in-law, Kalani Kalnui, told ABC News, “I was in contact with (Tucker’s wife), he had to use the restroom, they were in a kiosk (to buy trinkets) in the middle of the sidewalk in the middle of Las Ramblas. He left, and seconds later she was pushed over into the kiosk and she was disoriented trying to find him. Police evacuated … her from the area.”
Tucker’s wife scoured lists of victims and hospitals and visited the Red Cross to no avail, reported ABC News. “It’s been a heart-wrenching situation for Nunez, Kalnui said to ABC. “She’s not able to find out information,” he said. “[Officials] haven’t posted anything as far as names who are injured or deceased.”