Father of American killed in Barcelona confirms death, opens up about tragedy
Pau Barrena/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) — American Jared Tucker was among the 13 people killed in Thursday’s vehicle-ramming attack in Barcelona, his family has confirmed.
A spokesperson for Tucker’s family said in a statement Friday, “At present Jared’s wife Heidi is not issuing a statement and will issue a formal statement tomorrow. For now, she asks that the community and media hold their family up in prayer and asks for the privacy during this difficult time.”
Tucker’s father later revealed in an emotional interview with ABC News how the family learned of his death.
Dan Tucker said his son was vacationing with his wife Heidi in Barcelona where they were staying with a good friend. All three were out walking along the city’s Las Ramblas boulevard when Jared separated from them to find a bathroom. Minutes later, a white van veered onto the crowded street and mowed down pedestrians.
Heidi and the friend weren’t injured in the attack, Dan said, but Jared was nowhere to be found. Later, the Tucker family saw a video of a person laying on the ground after the attack who was wearing a blue shirt and tan pants, and Heidi told them that’s what Jared was wearing at the time.
“There was a person kneeling beside him and so we thought, ‘That’s a good sign. He’s probably hurt but not seriously injured,'” Dan told ABC News with tears in his eyes. “But … it became more and more obvious that Jared couldn’t be found.”
The Tucker family learned Friday morning that Heidi had been called into the U.S. Consulate General in Barcelona where officials showed her pictures of a body and she confirmed it was her husband Jared.
“Now she’s on her way over to the morgue,” Dan said.
The grieving father told ABC News he and his son were “really close,” and their family is struggling to make sense of the tragedy.
“It’s been hard, it’s been bitter. But I don’t know what my feelings are,” Dan said.” I’m not angry so much, I just don’t understand it. And my wife’s in shock; it’s a lot harder for her.”
Dan said he and his wife are grateful to be surrounded by family, friends and members of their church who are helping them get through this difficult time.
“I don’t know how people handle something like this when they don’t have a support group,” he told ABC News. “We’ve got a huge support group and it’s been really nice to have that.”
Earlier Friday, U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson confirmed that the Department of State had “received word and confirmed the death of one American citizen in the terrorist attack in Spain.” U.S. officials are “still confirming the injuries and deaths of others,” he added.
“Hate is not an American value,” Tillerson told reporters.
Spanish authorities said they have detained four people in connection to both the incident in Cambrils early Friday that killed at least one person and the vehicle attack Thursday in Barcelona that killed 13. More than 100 others were injured.
A State Department official told ABC News another American citizen was injured in Spain.
“The U.S. Consulate General in Barcelona continues to work with local authorities to identify and provide assistance to U.S. citizens affected by the terrorist attacks in Las Ramblas and Cambril. At this time, we can confirm that one U.S. citizen was killed,” the official said in a statement Friday. “We also can confirm that another U.S. citizen sustained a minor injury. Spanish authorities report that there are still several casualties who are not yet identified. Out of respect for the families’ privacy in their time of grief, we have no further comment.”
According to a preliminary assessment by Spanish authorities, those injured and killed in the attacks represented at least 34 different nationalities.
Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy on Thursday expressed solidarity with the victims and their families, describing the attack in Barcelona as “jihadist terrorism.”
Those responsible for the rampage will be brought to justice, he said, stressing that the response to terrorism must be global.
Rajoy said Barcelona residents are suffering “the same pain and the same uncertainty” as their neighbors in Madrid, Paris, Nice, Brussels and London, referencing other European cities that have also been subject to deadly terror attacks.
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