Nicholas Cleves, 23, was one of two Americans killed in the attack. (via Facebook) -->
The NYPD has released the names of the deceased victims in yesterday's terror attack on the West Side Highway bike path. Among them are five Argentine tourists and a 31-year-old Belgian tourist, in addition to a 23-year-old West Village resident and a 32-year-old resident of New Milford, NJ.
Hernan Diego Mendoza-Espino, 47; Alejandro Damian Pagrucco, 47; Herman Ferruchi, 47; Diego Enrique Angelini, 47, and Ariel Erlij, 48, were all visiting New York from Argentina to celebrate their 30th high school reunion. A sixth member of their group, Martin Ludovico Marro, was injured in the attack, and is hospitalized in stable condition at the Presbyterian Hospital of Manhattan, according to the Washington Post. Erlij, a prominent Argentine businessman, had reportedly organized and funded the trip for his friends. "I’m still in shock," Erlij's friend, Luciano D’Amelio told the Washington Post. "The incident really hit us. Never in our wildest imaginations did we think something like this could happen."
Anne-Laure Decadt, 31, was the lone female named among the dead. She was visiting New York from Belgium, with her mother and two sisters, and was biking with them when she was struck. Decadt's husband Alexander Naessens told the Daily News, "This loss is unbearable and unthinkable. Decadt leaves behind a 3-year-old son and a three-month-old son. "Anne-Laure ... was a fantastic wife and the most beautiful mom to our two sons," Naessens said.
Darren Drake, 32, of New Milford, rode a CitiBike between meetings at his job as a program manager at Moody's for exercise, his mother, Barbra Drake, told the NY Post. "He was riding his bike in between meetings — I guess he was in the wrong place at the wrong time," she told the tabloid, adding that he'd recently undergone surgery for weight loss.. "He was trying to lose weight, trying to stay active. So he signed up for that CitiBike group … he was trying to do everything right. Trying to take care of himself."
Darren Drake. (via Facebook) -->
Drake, who was also in graduate school at the Stevens Institute of Technology, was an only child, and his father, Jimmy Drake, said his son's death "feels like 9/11 for us."
"If there was one guy the terrorists shouldn’t have killed, it was my son. He wouldn’t swat a fly — he would make me do it … This is a really good kid. This kid, when he went to Mass, we didn’t have to drag him — he went on his own," Jimmy Drake said.
Nicholas Cleves, 23, of Manhattan, was identified as the other American citizen killed in the attack. Cleves, a software engineer, lived in the West Village. "He’s absolutely lovely, he was a sweetheart, warm and friendly. He would come in every day," a neighborhood deli worker told the Post.