Who was Darren Drake, American killed in New York terrorist attack


Jimmy Drake holds a picture of and talks about his son Darren Drake, Wednesday, Nov. 1, 2017, in New Milford, NJ. Darren, a project manager for Moody’s Investors Service at the World Trade Center, was among those killed in the bike path attack in New York City. (Ed Murray /NJ Advance Media via AP)

As afternoon turned into evening on Halloween Tuesday, Jimmy Drake and his wife, Barbara, asked one another: What if their son, Darren, had been one of the eight people killed in that day’s terrorist attack in Lower Manhattan. Darren worked as a program manager at Moody’s Investors Services in the World Trade Center.

“Five o’clock came along, no Darren,” the elder Drake told reporters outside his home Wednesday.

Darren Drake’s cellphone was dead. His office phone went to voice mail.

By 7 p.m., Jimmy and Barbara left the home they shared with Darren in New Milford, N.J., and drove toward Manhattan. They identified their son at the morgue on Wednesday.

[ New York truck attacker plotted for weeks and carried out rampage in the name of ISIS, police say ]

On Wednesday, Jimmy Drake stepped outside his home, sharing stories of his only child with reporters. His wife stayed inside, and although Drake broke into sobs now and then, he managed to say what he knew about his son and his last bike ride.

“He was the most innocent, delicate kid in the world,” Jimmy Drake said, according to Northjersey.com.

Darren Drake was 32 when he died Tuesday. Five of the victims were longtime friends from Argentina, visiting the United States together to celebrate the 30th anniversary of their high school graduation. Another was from Belgium, a mother of two young children. A young New Yorker, Nicholas Cleves, also was killed.

Drake, a New Jersey native, graduated from high school in New Milford in 2003 and went on to attend college at Rutgers. In 2011, he would graduate with a master’s in business administration from Fairleigh Dickinson University, which tweeted Wednesday that the community’s “hearts are heavy over the loss of alum Darren Drake.”

He was working on a second master’s degree at Stevens Institute of Technology in Hoboken with only six or seven courses left to complete, his father told Northjersey.com.

Darren Drake served on the New Milford Board of Education from April 2009 until he resigned in June 2013, New Milford superintendent Michael Polizzi told Newsday. He served as the board’s vice president and then president in January 2013, according to nj.com.

Polizzi told Northjersey.com that Darren Drake was a good man — “with a soft touch and a huge heart.”

He lived at home his with his parents, eating dinner with them every night and debating whether the Jets or the Giants was the better football team. Each morning, Jimmy Drake drove his son to the Hoboken train station, from where his son took a train to work.

On his last day, Darren Drake looked as healthy as could be, his father said.

“He just slept for 11 hours straight, and he felt great, and he looked great,” he said. “Life was perfect for him.”

Jaime Westervelt told Newsday that she lived two doors down from the Drake’s and had watched Darren grow up. She described him as having “a wonderful spirit” and always with a smile on his face.

Darren Drake had once been quite heavy, his father told reporters. But he’d lost nearly 100 pounds after a lap-band surgery. Every day while on his break, he’d go for a bike ride while others smoked their cigarettes or drank their coffee.

[ Old friends from Argentina reunited in New York. Five died together in a terrorist attack. ]

On Tuesday afternoon, Jimmy Drake said, his son rented a bicycle and put on his audiobook — a history book about the Americas before Europeans came — and went for his ride along the Hudson River.

And there, Darren Drake was found by a man in a rented truck, in the middle of a 20-block rampage.

ABC7 posted an interview with Jimmy Drake in which a reporter asked what he would say to his son’s killer.

The elder Drake said he harbored no anger. He was simply hurt.

“I’m absolutely hurt. Believe me. I’ve been a deer hunter for 40 years. I would never think of shooting this guy. Never,” Jimmy Drake said. “The amount of hurt I’m feeling, I can’t explain.”

Jimmy Drake said he would donate his son’s bike to charity.

Our prayers are with the family & friends of New Milford grad and fmr. football player Darren Drake, who was killed in NYC attack yesterday.

— New Milford Football (@NMfootball) November 1, 2017

Darren Drake’s Facebook showed a photo of his last Halloween costume — a Cheerios box studded with knives — to jokingly represent a “cereal killer.”

At around 4:30 Wednesday, the Facebook page no longer only displayed his name.

It now reads: Remembering Darren Drake.

Read more:

Old friends from Argentina reunited in New York. Five died together in a terrorist attack.

Belgian woman killed in New York terrorist attack was ‘the most beautiful mom’

Of the eight killed in New York, only Nicholas Cleves called it home

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