France Attacker Had Salsa-Dancing Secret Life
Psychiatrist says he 'wasn't living in the real world'
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 25, 2016 4:12 AM CDT
In this screen grab made available on Wednesday, attacker Mohamed Lahouaiej Bouhlel, right, is seen while competing in a martial arts competition in 2010.   (AP Photo, File)
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(Newser) – What kind of man would drive a truck through a crowd of families watching a fireworks show? A troubled, secretive, and deeply unpleasant one, the New York Times found in interviews with those who knew Mohamed Lahouaiej Bouhlel. The 31-year-old, who killed 84 people in the attack in Nice earlier this month, "danced, he smoked, he ate pork. It was almost as though he wasn't even Muslim," his brother Jaber, 19, says in Msaken, Tunisia. "He didn't even pray." A psychiatrist who treated Bouhlel when he was 19 says he was showing signs of psychosis, was obsessed with his physical appearance, and "wasn't someone who was living in the real world." Bouhlel moved to France in 2009 for an arranged marriage, which neighbors say turned abusive as soon as Bouhlel got his papers to stay in the country.

Those who knew Bouhlel, who worked as a delivery driver, say he spent much of his time drinking and womanizing. The Times reports that he set up a Facebook page under the name Javin Bensucon at least four years ago and lived a double life as a salsa dancer under it, going to classes three times a week and regularly picking up women, some of them more than 20 years older than him. A former partner the Times tracked down says he thought of himself as a "stud" and never spoke of his wife and three children. But although Bouhlel has been described as a man previously indifferent to religion who was radicalized very quickly, prosecutors now say he had been plotting the attack for up to a year, suggesting he may have been following ISIS advice for followers to hide their religion and try to blend in while planning attacks, the AP notes.