The alleged terrorist attack that took place in New York City on Tuesday, October 31st, and involved a truck being driven to plow down pedestrians and cyclists on a bike path, left eight people dead. For those recently named victims, it was just a normal day in the city.
Of those who died, five were Argentines from Rosario, a city that has now declared three days of mourning. Police identified the men as Hernan Diego Mendoza-Espino, Alejandro Damian Pagrucco, Herman Ferruchi, Diego Enrique Aneglini and Ariel Erlis. The men in their late forties were traveling to New York City to celebrate the 30th anniversary of their high school graduation, a trip they had been planning for years. During their trip, the friends had taken a bicycle ride along the West Side Highway when a white rented van was used to end their lives.
Ornee Pagnucco, daughter of victim Alejandro Pagnucco, had said that her father had never traveled a lot, but saw New York as iconic and always had a dream of visiting the city.
“We’re shattered,” Pagnucco’s daughter said. “It’s been really hard.”
“Our pain is for the innocent and unjust deaths of people who have nothing to do with the craziness that brought people trapped by their fundamentalist ideas to cause such terrible damage,” said Mary Bensuley, family friend of one of the Argentines in a Facebook statement.
Ann-Laure Decadt was another victim of the terrorist attack, leaving her husband without a wife and her two children, a 3-year-old and a 3-month-old, without a mother. Decadt, a 31-year-old from Belgium, had been taking a trip with her sister and her mother and was biking with them when the attack occurred.
Her husband, Alexander Naessens, said in a statement that her death was unbearable.
Among the killed was Darren Drake of New Milford, New Jersey. He was 32 and had been taking a bike ride on a 15-minute work break, as he had recently began to do in order to improve his health, before he was killed in the truck attack.
“He had everything going for him,” Jimmy Drake, father of Darren, told NBC New York. “If there was one guy a terrorist was going to kill, it wouldn’t be my son. He wouldn’t swat a fly.”
Police have also identified one of the eight victims to be New York native Nicholas Cleves, only 23. The software engineer graduated from Skidmore College last year with a degree in computer science and physics and was described by everyone who knew him as undeniably kind.
“He was a really, really kind, not heartless, intelligent and curious person,” Bahij Chancey, Cleves’s friend, told ABC 7. “He’s from the village, he grew up in the village, and, like me, he grew up biking around New York to get around.”
“An incident of terrorism that takes the lives of innocent people anywhere in the world touches each of us in our fundamental humanity,” Philip A. Glotzbach, president of Skidmore College, wrote in a statement posted Wednesday on the college’s website. “But the effect is more pronounced — and far more personal — when our community is directly linked to such a horrendous event.”
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, in regards to the loss of the victims, said, “Six of them came from other nations here, because they saw New York as a special place to be. And we now, and forever, will consider them New Yorkers.”