Jared Tucker, a California man on a romantic vacation with his wife, was identified as the American who was killed when a van full of ISIS-aligned terrorists rammed into pedestrians along a busy Barcelona promenade in Spain.
The photo of the couple above 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.
There is a GoFundMe site established to help Jared’s family.
At least 13 people were killed and more than 100 victims lay wounded in the attack in the popular tourist area from multiple nationalities as the Spanish were rocked by news that an ISIS cell of at least a dozen terrorists was hiding out in their midst.
A second but likely related terrorist attack unfolded 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.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Jared Tucker Was Celebrating His First Wedding Anniversary With His Wife in Spain
Jared and Heidi Tucker were just another young couple in love on vacation in Barcelona when the terrorists struck. According to KTVU-TV, they were in Spain to celebrate their first wedding anniversary.
Horribly, Heidi lost sight of Jared during the chaos of the attack. “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.
The family has since learned that Jared died. His father expressed shock at the randomness of it all.
“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. My mother and his wife will be in Barcelona for an undetermined amount of time until final arrangements can be made.”
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.”
At first, it wasn’t clear what police had on their hands. Early reports said there were two gunmen in the Barcelona attack who alighted from the van and rushed into a Turkish restaurant after the car ramming left a street full of bloodied victims.
According to East Bay Times, the Tuckers were on a two-week European vacation and a relative described that “all hell broke loose” and Tucker vanished in the chaos.
It emerged that there were at least three attackers in Barcelona, two men under arrest and a driver, who is still at large. It’s emerged that terrorist suspects had Northern African roots, including in Morocco.
The next day, police expanded that account to reveal that Spain may have had a terrorist ISIS cell in its midst of a dozen people after five more terrorists died while trying to stage another car ramming attack in Cambrils shortly after the Barcelona attack. In addition, a home blew up in Spain that police now think was yet another terrorist trying to prepare explosives.
2. Jared Tucker Ran a Pool Company in California & His Wife Is a Teacher
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. He was a father of three.
Friends and family posted about their heartbreak and 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 now accuse 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.
3. Tucker Was Just Buying Trinkets & Left to Use the Restroom When the Terrorists Struck
It could have been anyone. According to ABC News, Tucker was buying “trinkets” with his wife and had just left to use the restroom when the van rammed into people on the popular tourist promenade in Barcelona.
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. Kalnui said to ABC the search was heart wrenching for Jared’s wife. “She’s not able to find out information,” he said before the death was confirmed. “[Officials] haven’t posted anything as far as names who are injured or deceased.”
4. The CIA Had Warned the Spanish Government of the Potential for Attacks in Barcelona, Reports Say
Spanish and British media are reporting that American intelligence services had warned Spain of attacks in Barcelona well before they unfolded.
“The CIA told Los Mossos, the Catalonian regional police force, that Barcelona was a top target for jihadist terrorists as recently as June this year,” reported UK Telegraph.
As has been seen in many of the car ramming attacks – which have plagued European cities the past year and the American state of Virginia, cell phone videos immediately emerged of the carnage on the streets.
In Barcelona, they were equally horrific. They showed an elderly couple lying prone on the sidewalk still clutching shopping bags and victims of all nationalities lying prone as bystanders and police tended to their wounds.
5. People From 34 Countries Were Injured in the Terrorist Attack
The horrific car-ramming attack in Barcelona, Spain took the lives of 13 people and injured 100, including young parents, a grandfather, people just strolling with their families, and others.
According to the Sun, those injured in the attack came from 34 countries in addition to America: “Germany, Algeria, Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Morocco, Canada, China, Colombia, Romania, Venezuela, Cuba, Ecuador, Egypt, Spain, America, Philippines, France, Britain, Greece, Holland, Taiwan, Honduras, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Kuwait, Macedonia, Mauritius, Pakistan, Peru, Dominican Republic and Turkey.”
There are also people who are still in critical condition and others who were also reported as missing. Julian Cadman, a 7-year-old British-born boy from Australia, was missing after becoming separated from his mother during the Barcelona attack. His mother is in the hospital in serious condition, reports UK Telegraph.
Bruno Gulotta, one of those listed as dead, was identified as a father of two from Italy. According to Yahoo, “He was on holiday with his partner and two children, one of whom is only seven months old, the other five.” Horrifically, reported Yahoo, citing Italian media, “The Italian man was walking hand in hand with his five-year-old son, and his wife Martina was following with their seven-month-old baby in her arms.” The other members of his family were not injured.
Elke Vanbockrijck was a bank worker and mother of two from Brussels who was also on vacation.
Luca Russo was a 25-year-old Italian engineer.
“Everyone describes him as an exceptional lad who had real desire to get things done and to do good,” said the town mayor, Riccardo Poletto to UK Telegraph. “Everybody here is lost for words at the news.”
Fransisco Lopez Rodriguez was a grandfather whose family also was desperately looking for him.
Rodriguez was from Spain. His niece wrote on Twitter that he died “on the spot” and was walking with four other family members at the time that he was killed. She called it “desperate agony” as the family searched for news of Rodriguez.
Early on after Barcelona, there were reports that ISIS channels were celebrating the deaths. Then came news that Amaq, the official news agency of ISIS, had claimed responsibility, although this claim was still under investigation.