Italian 'killed strolling hand-in-hand-with son' on Rambla

Bruno Gulotta

BARCELONA: Two Italians, both on holiday with their partners, have been killed in the Barcelona attack on Thursday afternoon. Bruno Gulotta, 35, on vacation in the Catalan capital with his wife and two young children (a six-year-old boy and a seven-month-old baby). Whilst strolling down Barcelona’s busy Las Ramblas hand in hand with his eldest son, the marketing and sales manager and resident of Legnano, Lombardy, was a victim of the van that plunged into the crowd. His wife Martina managed to grab her son and bring him to safety.

 Another Italian, Luca Russo, from Manostica, in the province of Vicenza, in Veneto, has also been identified as dead. Russo, was 25, a recent engineering graduate, from the University of Padua, resident in Bassano del Grappa. He was on holiday in Barcelona with his fiancée, Marta Scomazzon, who was injured but not seriously. The two volunteered together at the Bassano’s Green Cross.

 The latest reports have revealed that one of the four identified terrorists, Driss Oukabir, had been in Italy at the beginning of summer 2014, hosted in Viterbo by an Italian woman who had paid for the trip after having met him earlier in Spain. The woman spoke to Italian police and confirmed that she had hosted Driss, but argued that it was simply a vacation.

 The head of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs Crisis Unit told TG1: "I confirm that there are two Italian victims, we are in contact with their family members and are assisting them. There were also three wounded, two of whom were released. The third, Marta, is Luca Russo's girlfriend, and is still in hospital for some fractures, but her injuries are not serious. "

 After hearing the news Mr Russo's sister Chiara posted a message on her facebook page saying 'help me to bring him home.' Among the messages of support came one from Roberta Capelli, daughter-in-law of the couple from Voghera killed in the Nice attack: "I'm so sorry. My family and I are close to you and we understand your pain. I send my love in the name of my husband and other the Italians involved in the Nice attack." An attack that had its effect on Mr Russo at the time, when he posted a photo on Facebook of one of the young victim’s dolls saying: “Don't pray: think!"

 Numerous friends are leaving a last farewell under what is now the last status Mr Russo had posted on his Facebook profile, that today plays a prophetic slogan: "We are born without anything, we die without anything. And in between we fight to have something.”

 Even the president of the Veneto region, Luca Zaia, remembered to post a message on Facebook in tribute to the young man: "Veneto loses one of its children and we can only think back to the Bataclan attack, where our Valeria Solesin was barbarously killed.” He added: “I have made arrangements for the flags of the regional palaces to be placed halfway in mourning for Luca, whose family we think of dearly, ensuring that the Region is available for anything they might need.”

 The entire community of Bassano del Grappa, who have already organised a torchlight procession tonight in honour of the boy, has rallied around his family. "I did not directly know Luca but what his friend tell me is touching," says Mayor Riccardo Poletto. "Everyone describes him as an exceptional guy in the sense that he really wanted to do good.” The city is in shock: "The astonishment and disbelief were great yesterday when we did not know what had happened. It left us speechless."

 Meanwhile, in Lombardy, Pino Bruno, Bruno Gulotta's work colleague, confirmed the dreaded news of the death of the young man by posting a picture of the whole team working on social media: "Unfortunately it is true. Our dear friend and colleague Bruno Gulotta, marketing and sales manager of Tom's Hardware Italia, was killed yesterday in Barcelona by terrorists. We are sending our thoughts and solidarity to his wife Martina and his two sons.” 

 Andrea Ferrario, editor-in-chief of technology site Tom's Hardware Italia, where Gulotta worked, spoke to Italian daily La Repubblica: “We knew that Bruno was on vacation in Barcelona with his partner and his two young children. After only a few hours his wife Martina told us that Bruno was gone.” 

 His wife and children are thought to be unharmed, “at least physically”, continued Ferrario. "Some relatives are already on their way to be with them and support them. We are trying to figure out how we can help. We will do everything we can."

 A post written in My Gulotta’s memory appeared early on Friday morning on the company’s site, written by Roberto Buonanno, the Country Manager: "He had posted on Facebook the steps of his trip and everything seemed to exactly as one would expect from a holiday.” There was also a photo of las Ramblas, perhaps taken the day before. "Bruno," Buonanno adds, "was a point of reference for all those who knew him. He was a strong support for all of us at Tom’s Hardware. Anyone who contacted him - customers, suppliers, or web stars- was impressed by his kindness and his professionalism, he had an insatiable hunger for knowledge, and he was a real geek, one of us, even though he later decided to go full-time in marketing and sales. I have never known a more capable person in this role. He loved to study every aspect of his life and profession, he was an insatiable reader always in search of perfection.”

 Three more Italians are injured, as confirmed by Italian Ambassador to Spain, Stefano Sannino, when speaking to 6 su Radio 1. Two have already been discharged, while the third is in hospital with fractures