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What we know about the man who killed 84 people in Nice

Mohamed Lahouaiej Bouhlel, known to the police for a string of petty offenses, was described as an aggressive loner.

by VICE News
Jul 15 2016, 4:05pm

La policía asegura el área donde ocurrió el ataque, Francia, 15 de julio 2016. Imagen por Andreas Gebert/EPA

The man who killed 84 people when he plowed a truck into a crowd in the French Riviera city of Nice has been named as Mohamed Lahouaiej Bouhlel. Thousands of spectators had gathered on Nice's waterfront promenade Thursday to watch the traditional Bastille Day fireworks.

Bouhlel, 31, was killed by the police after he opened fire on officers when his truck came to a stop on the Promenade des Anglais. Officers searching his truck recovered a handgun, fake weapons, a bank card, a mobile phone and official identification documents.

Lahouaiej Bouhlel was a Tunisian citizen living in Nice on a French residency permit. Earlier reports mistakenly said he was French-Tunisian. According to Francetv.info, he was born in January 1985 in Msaken, a town near the seaside resort of Sousse, in eastern Tunisia. The Guardian reported that the last time he traveled home was four years ago.

The attacker was not known to intelligence services but had several petty offenses on his criminal record including theft, acts of violence involving weapons, and domestic violence. A father of three, he was currently in the midst of divorce proceedings. His ex-wife was questioned by police Friday.

Addressing reporters Friday, French Minister of Justice Jean-Jacques Urvoas said Lahouaiej Bouhlel was given a suspended sentence in March 2016, for throwing a wooden pallet at another driver during a road rage incident.

On Friday, officers from the elite RAID police unit searched his home in the Abattoirs neighborhood, in the east of the city.

Neighbors interviewed by French daily Le Figaro described the man as "solitary and quiet." Others reported he looked "depressed" of late. One neighbor told the daily the attacker was "very mean," and never held the door open for her. She claimed that she and her daughter were scared of him. Another neighbor said that Lahouaiej Bouhlel had recently asked to rent her mailbox, and become aggressive when she refused.

The Guardian spoke to another neighbor, who described the attacker as a George Clooney lookalike, with an aggressive demeanor. "He spent a lot of his time at a bar down the street where he gambled and drank," she told the daily.

Several of the neighbors pointed to a man who "wasn't very religious," and showed no signs of radicalization. One of the neighbors told France Info the driver liked "girls and salsa."

According to BFMTV, Lahouaiej Bouhlel rented the truck he used in Thursday's killings on Monday, from a company based in the nearby town of Saint-Laurent-du-Var. He is said to have picked the heaviest available truck.

A self-employed trucker, he had a truck driver's license and owned a small van.