Two US victims in the Halloween terror attack in New York have been identified among the eight dead, which include visitors from Argentina and Belgium.
Darren Drake, 33, of New Jersey worked at Moody’s Investors Service in the Freedom Tower, the former location of the World Trade Centre, and was riding his bike in between meetings along the West Side Highway path where suspect Sayfullo Saipov had allegedly driven a pickup truck south approximately 20 blocks.
His father James Drake told NorthJersey.com that he and wife Barbara were “still in shock” over the death of their only child.
The young man was also pursuing a second Masters degree at the Stevens Institute of Technology in Hoboken, New Jersey, said his father. “Life was perfect for him,” Mr Drake said of his son, adding that he was “the most innocent, delicate kid in the world”.
Mr Drake believes his son was one of the six victims declared dead at the scene.
Nicholas Cleves was also among the victims.
Mother Monica Missio was too distraught to comment publicly.
Mr Cleves, a West Village resident, was thought of fondly by those in his neighbourhood.
“He’s absolutely lovely, he was a sweetheart, warm and friendly. He would come in every day,” a deli worker Dianne told the New York Post.
Mr Cleves had just completed his bachelor’s degree in computer science and physics from Skidmore College in Pennsylvania.
Dianne noted: “There are some people who are just good, and he was.”
Six of the victims were visitors to the city.
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said: “Six of them came from other nations here because they saw New York is a special place to be. And we now, and forever, will consider them New Yorkers.”
A Belgian mother of two, Ann-Laure Decadt, was also identified as one of the victims.
Ms Decadt is from Staden, a town of just 11,400 people.
She was visiting New York with her mother and sisters when she was run over by the rented Home Depot pickup truck while riding a bicycle.
Husband Alexander Naessens told a Belgian newspaper, in a statement translated from Flemish, that his wife’s death was “unbearable” and that she was “the most beautiful mom of our three-month- and three-year-old sons.”
Her mother and sisters were unharmed.
Staden Mayor Francesco Vanderjeugd told the New York Post his small town is in shock.
“Everybody knows each other. It’s unbelievable because she was a young mother and she was so committed to the community,” he said.
Mr Vanderjegud echoed many US politicians when he said: “It’s an attack not only in New York but also an attack on our community – on our way of life.”
The mayor mentioned Mr Naessens is holding up but struggling with how to tell his older son about Ms Decadt’s death.
Rosario, in Argentina, was particularly hard hit with the loss of five residents: Hernán Mendoza, Diego Angelini, Alejandro Pagnucco, Ariel Erlij and Hernán Ferruchi.
The victims were among eight friends celebrating marking their 1987 graduation from the Polytechnic School of Rosario with a US trip to New York and Boston, near where one of their classmates lives.
In Rosario, a minute of silence was observed at the high school, the Argentina flag was flown at half-mast, and a candlelight vigil has been scheduled.
Argentina’s President Mauricio Macri said the men’s deaths has “hit all Argentines hard”, adding that “there’s no place for gray areas” – the fight against terrorism must be committed to from “head to toe”.
According to one Argentine official, four of the men died at the scene while one died after being taken to the hospital.
Mr Erlij, the chief executive at Argentine steel products manufacturing company Ivanar, had treated his friends to the trip.
The surviving friend who is recovering from injuries in the hospital, Martin Ludovico Marro, is a Boston-area resident working for a division of pharmaceutical giant Novartis.
Twelve victims remain in hospital, four in critical but stable condition and at least one undergoing an amputation, said New York City Police Commissioner James O’Neill.
Sayfullo Saipov, from Tampa, Florida, remains in stable condition after being shot in the stomach by a police officer after he reportedly crashed the truck into a school bus containing two adults and two children.
The FBI has been searching his home and neighbourhood in Paterson, New Jersey, where he has been living with his wife and children for less than a year.