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Chicago Family Takes Refuge After Deadly Barcelona Attack

A Chicago man on vacation with his family in Barcelona took refuge in a nearby store after a rental van plowed into a crowd of pedestrians Thursday, killing at least 13 and wounding more than 100.

Rigoberto Gomez said he was with his wife and son near the historic Las Ramblas district when the white van jumped the curb and rammed into tourists and residents.

Senior police official Josep Lluis Trapero said it was “clearly a terror attack intended to kill as many people as possible,” the Associated Press reported.

Gomez said after the van sped past, a crowd of onlookers began runningtwoard Plaza de Cataluña and surrounding streets to escape.

“We were held up inside a store but made it home after a couple hours,” he told NBC 5. “We are still shaken up a little bit but we’re in good health.”

The Islamic State has since claimed responsibility for the deadly attack. Authorities said they expected the number of deaths to rise.

In videos from the scene, Gomez documented how he and his family hunkered down in a nearby Stradivarius clothing store with others trying to escape the violence.

“We are all locked in here,” he says in one video, showing a gathering of people, some pushing strollers, after the chaotic attack. “We’ve been waiting here for about 30 minutes—until we get the clearance we’re locked in so far.”

A Snapchat shared by Gomez from the store reads “The guy’s still on the loose.”

Authorities said two people were detained but the driver of the van was not in custody.

“My most serious condemnation to the terrorist attack in Barcelona,” Catalan’s Interior Minister Joaquim Forn tweeted.

The attack, which took place during the height of the tourist season in Spain’s second-largest city, is the deadliest terror incident in Spain since March 2004, when nearly 200 people were killed by bombs planted on four rush hour commuter trains in Madrid, NBC News reported. And it is the sixth deadly attack involving a car or truck in the past 13 months; the others occurred in Nice, Berlin, London and Stockholm.

President Donald Trump tweeted a condemnation of the attack early in the afternoon.

“The United States condemns the terror attack in Barcelona, Spain, and will do whatever is necessary to help. Be tough & strong, we love you!” Trump tweeted.

It is the height of tourist season in Barcelona, which is Spain’s second-largest city.

“Our hearts are with the people of Barcelona and all those affected by today’s horrific attack,” Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel said in a statement. “Chicago stands with you.”

Published at 4:18 PM CDT on Aug 17, 2017 | Updated 2 hours ago

Published in: Local News

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