Subscribe to Breaking News emails

You have successfully subscribed to the Breaking News email.

Subscribe today to be the first to to know about breaking news and special reports.

Ex-Wife of France Truck Attacker Is 'Shocked': Lawyer

by Nancy Ing and Elisha Fieldstadt /
Nice truck driver suspect Lahouaiej BouhlelNBC News

Breaking News Emails

Get breaking news alerts and special reports. The news and stories that matter, delivered weekday mornings.

The ex-wife of the truck driver who was killed by French police after mowing down Bastille Day revelers only found out that the father of her three children was the attacker when questioned at a police station, her lawyer said.

"She was shocked because she realized she used to live with a man who was a criminal, and that she had three kids ... with a criminal," said Jean-Yves Garino of his client Hajer (NBC News is not publishing her last name), who was once married to the 31-year-old driver, Mohamed Lahouaiej Bouhlel.

Garino said Hajer was detained for two days for questioning after Bouhlel plowed more than through a mile of people, killing at least 84.

 Nice truck driver suspect Lahouaiej Bouhlel NBC News

Garino said Hajer left Bouhlel because he was abusive with her and with her mother. "He was violent (physically) and violent with the words," Garino said.

"She had to protect herself," Garino said, adding that she had reported Bouhlel to the police before.

But he said she felt "guilty" because she wonders if she had reported the alleged violence to police sooner "maybe lot of people could have been saved and that terrorist act would never have exist."

A friend of Hajer's has suggested that the dissolution of Bouhlel's marriage might have set him off, but he said he doubted the killer had links to any extremist groups.

"He was not Muslim," Walid Hamou told NBC News. "He ate pork, he drank alcohol, he hit his wife," Hamou claimed. "That is not Muslim."

Breaking News Emails

Get breaking news alerts and special reports. The news and stories that matter, delivered weekday mornings.

Breaking News Emails

Get breaking news alerts and special reports. The news and stories that matter, delivered weekday mornings.
MORE FROM news

Have feedback?

How likely are you to recommend nbcnews.com to a friend or colleague?

0 = Very unlikely
10 = Very likely
Please select answer

Is your feedback about:

Please select answer

Leave your email if you’d like us to respond. (Optional)

Please enter a valid email address

Thank you!

Your feedback has been sent out. Please enjoy more of our content.

We appreciate your help making nbcnews.com a better place.