Boisean Bobbi Bullock didn’t realize that a dear friend of hers, Melissa “Missy” Cochran, was a victim in a London terror attack until her brother called her early Thursday morning.
Melissa had been injured in the attack on Westminster Bridge. Her husband, Kurt, died from injuries he suffered in the attack, according to family members’ postings on social media and a statement from Mormon church officials. The couple have two children, Bullock said.
Melissa’s family lived next door to Bullock’s family in Northwest Boise when they were both students at Hillside Junior High School in the 1980s, and they’ve stayed in touch over the years. They both were junior high cheerleaders and worked a paper route together.
“Missy and I used to be so naughty together. We polka-dotted someone’s house ... It ruined the paint,” recalled Bullock, now 46. “We were good shenanigans girls.”
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Melissa Cochran’s father, Dick Payne, was an LDS church leader, Bullock said. His job took the family to California for a couple of years, but they later returned to Boise before eventually moving to Utah.
A man drove an SUV into pedestrians Wednesday on London’s Westminster Bridge, killing two and wounding about 40 others, and then stabbed police officer Keith Palmer inside the gates of Parliament. The assailant was shot dead by armed officers. British teacher Aysha Frade, 43, was the other civilian killed in the attack, according to The New York Times.
The assailant was identified as 52-year-old Khalid Masood, who had a substantial criminal history, The Times reported. He had been living recently around Birmingham, England, where the vehicle used in the attack was rented.
Melissa and her husband were on the last day of a European trip celebrating their 25th wedding anniversary when the deadly attack played out in the heart of London.
Bullock said she was following the couple’s travels in Europe on Facebook.
“This was the trip of a lifetime,” she said. “They were in Amsterdam first, then Germany.”
Melissa remains hospitalized.
One of her sisters said in a Facebook post early Wednesday that Melissa suffered a broken leg, broken rib, and a cut on her head.
The couple were also visiting Melissa’s parents, who are serving as Mormon missionaries in London, according to a statement released by Mormon church officials.
A GoFundMe account has been set up for the Cochran family. Click here to donate. So far about $10,500 has been donated toward the goal of $50,000.
London police are treating a gun and knife incident at Britain’s Parliament “as a terrorist incident until we know otherwise.” The Metropolitan Police says in a statement that the incident is ongoing. It is urging people to stay away from the area.
Melissa’s brother Clint Payne lives in Idaho Falls. He is a career and academic adviser at Brigham Young University-Idaho.
In a statement, Payne said the family is heartbroken.
“Kurt was a good man and a loving husband to our sister and daughter, Melissa,” the statement said.
The family said he would be greatly missed and thanked emergency and medical crews. They also asked for prayers and privacy.
The U.S. State Department initially declined to comment on reports that Americans were victims of the attack, according to The Washington Post.