Basilica Terror Attack in Nice: Who Were the Victims?

Some facts we've learned about the victims that died this morning in Nice, France.

People lights candle outside the Notre-Dame de l'Assomption Basilica in Nice on October 29, 2020 in tribute to the three victims of a knife attacker, cutting the throat of at least one woman, inside the church of the French Riviera city.
People lights candle outside the Notre-Dame de l'Assomption Basilica in Nice on October 29, 2020 in tribute to the three victims of a knife attacker, cutting the throat of at least one woman, inside the church of the French Riviera city. (photo: Valery Hache / AFP/Getty)

Bells tolled in Catholic parishes across France in memory of the three people killed in a knife attack at the Basilica of Notre-Dame in Nice Thursday morning.

This is what is known so far about the victims:


Vincent L., sacristan:

One of the victims has been identified as the sacristan of Notre-Dame Basilica in Nice, Vincent L., who was 55 years old and a father of two daughters. He had served the basilica as sacristan for 10 years.

Catholics in Nice remembered Vincent for his dedicated service to the Church. Fr. Jean-Louis Giordan, the former rector of the basilica, told Vatican News that he first hired Vincent as sacristan of the basilica a decade ago.

A person familiar with the basilica told the French daily Le Parisien: “He's not just a sacristan. He helped a lot the priest who was old. … He was the handyman. The candles were always well lit … He was very discreet and very efficient. He didn’t speak much. He acted with great humility and respect. He is the first person we thought of when we learned of the attack,”

“He was an ordinary man, in the good sense of the word: nice, open,” Fr. Gil Florini, parish priest of Saint-Pierre-d'Arène-de-Nice church, told Le Figaro.


An elderly woman who came to pray:

A woman described as elderly by French reports came to pray at the basilica on the morning of Oct. 28. Le Figaro reported that she was found dead with her throat cut, “nearly beheaded,” near the holy water font inside of the basilica.


A mother:

A third victim, whom French media have identified as a mother in her 40s, was attacked inside the church and is said to have taken refuge in a nearby cafe, where she died from stab wounds. According to the French television news channel BFMTV, a witness heard her say, “Tell my family that I love them,” as she died.

In addition to those killed in the attack, police report that others were injured in the basilica.


Police arrest perpetrator:

French police say they arrested the perpetrator, who has been identified as Brahim Aouissaoui, 21, who reportedly arrived from Tunisia at the Italian island of Lampedusa in late September. After spending some weeks in virus quarantine, Aouissaoui is reported to have arrived in France in early October. Aouissaoui is reported to have been taken to the hospital by police with a gunshot wound.

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