Family of ‘skateboard hero’ of 2017 London attack campaigns for sainthood

Ignacio_Echeverría Flowers are placed alongside a photograph of Ignacio Echeverría and others killed in the London Bridge terror attack prior to a commemoration service on June 3, 2018, the first anniversary of the attack that killed eight people and injured dozens more. | Photo by DANIEL LEAL/AFP via Getty Images

On June 3, 2017, eight people were killed and dozens injured when three terrorists drove their van into a crowd and wielded knives against innocent pedestrians in London.

By fending off the perpetrators with his skateboard, 39-year-old native Spaniard Ignacio Echeverría was able to prevent the terrorists from reaching many other civilians. During this act of self-sacrifice and bravery, he was fatally stabbed.

Now, five years later, Echeverría — known as the “skateboard hero” of the London Bridge and Borough Market attacks — is poised to potentially become a saint.

Since Echeverría’s death in 2017, his parents have been gathering documents to present to the Church to begin the meticulous process toward consideration for sainthood.

Echeverría’s father described him as a faithful man. “His religious life was very important to him,” Joaquín Echeverría told The Guardian. Making the transition from life in Madrid to life in London was difficult for his son, he said, yet he “relied on religion to overcome his difficulties and failures.”

Because the canonization process cannot begin until five years after the individual’s death, June 3, 2022, marked the day Echeverría’s journey toward sainthood could officially start.

The family decided to pursue Echeverría’s canonization at the suggestion of Auxiliary Bishop Juan Antonio Martínez Camino of the Archdiocese of Madrid. Name recognition is in his favor: Skate parks now bear his name; a musical, "Skate Hero," was written about his sacrifice, and Spain posthumously has awarded him awarded him the prestigious George Medal and Grand Cross of the Order of Civil Merit

With the consideration of sainthood, Joaquín Echeverría said, “Ignacio — as someone who was always very excited about life — would be jumping for joy in heaven … because it was an acknowledgment that his death was an act of generosity.”

In an interview earlier this year, Joaquín Echeverría noted that the ultimate decision for canonization, naturally, will be based on what God wants. Though it is in God’s hands, he told La Iberia, “if God chose Ignacio because an example was needed, he chose the best example.”

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