The truck which slammed into revelers late Thursday, July 14, is seen near the site of an attack in the French resort city of Nice, southern France, Friday, July 15, 2016. The truck loaded with weapons and hand grenades drove onto a sidewalk for more than a mile, plowing through Bastille Day revelers who'd gathered to watch fireworks in the French resort city of Nice late Thursday.  (AP Photo/Luca Bruno)
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The truck which slammed into revelers late Thursday, July 14, is seen near the site of an attack in the French resort city of Nice, southern France, Friday, July 15, 2016. The truck loaded with weapons and hand grenades drove onto a sidewalk for more than a mile, plowing through Bastille Day revelers who'd gathered to watch fireworks in the French resort city of Nice late Thursday. (AP Photo/Luca Bruno)
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French soldiers patrol in front of the Eiffel Tower on January 8, 2015 in Paris as the capital was placed under the highest alert status a day after heavily armed gunmen shouting Islamist slogans stormed French satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo and shot dead at least 12 people in the deadliest attack in France in four decades. A  huge manhunt for two brothers suspected of massacring 12 people in an Islamist attack at a satirical French weekly zeroed in on a northern town Thursday after the discovery of one of the getaway cars. As thousands of police tightened their net, the country marked a rare national day of mourning for Wednesday's bloodbath at Charlie Hebdo magazine in Paris, the worst terrorist attack in France for half a century. AFP PHOTO / BERTRAND GUAY        (Photo credit should read BERTRAND GUAY/AFP/Getty Images)
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French soldiers patrol in front of the Eiffel Tower on January 8, 2015 in Paris as the capital was placed under the highest alert status a day after heavily armed gunmen shouting Islamist slogans stormed French satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo and shot dead at least 12 people in the deadliest attack in France in four decades. A huge manhunt for two brothers suspected of massacring 12 people in an Islamist attack at a satirical French weekly zeroed in on a northern town Thursday after the discovery of one of the getaway cars. As thousands of police tightened their net, the country marked a rare national day of mourning for Wednesday's bloodbath at Charlie Hebdo magazine in Paris, the worst terrorist attack in France for half a century. AFP PHOTO / BERTRAND GUAY (Photo credit should read BERTRAND GUAY/AFP/Getty Images)
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Policemen walk on the site where a truck drove into a crowd watching a fireworks display on the Promenade des Anglais seafront in the French Riviera town of Nice on July 15, 2016. An attack in Nice where a man rammed a truck into a crowd of people left 84 dead and another 18 in a "critical condition", interior ministry spokesman Pierre-Henry Brandet said Friday. An unidentified gunman barrelled the truck two kilometres (1.3 miles) through a crowd that had been enjoying a fireworks display for France's national day before being shot dead by police. / AFP / Valery HACHE (Photo credit should read VALERY HACHE/AFP/Getty Images)
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Fire department ambulances and vehicles are parked near the scene of an attack after a truck drove on to the sidewalk and plowed through a crowd of revelers who'd gathered to watch the fireworks in the French resort city of Nice, southern France, Friday, July 15, 2016. A spokesman for France's Interior Ministry says there are likely to be "several dozen dead" after a truck drove into a crowd of revelers celebrating Bastille Day in the French city of Nice. (AP Photo/Christian Alminana)
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Fire department ambulances and vehicles are parked near the scene of an attack after a truck drove on to the sidewalk and plowed through a crowd of revelers who'd gathered to watch the fireworks in the French resort city of Nice, southern France, Friday, July 15, 2016. A spokesman for France's Interior Ministry says there are likely to be "several dozen dead" after a truck drove into a crowd of revelers celebrating Bastille Day in the French city of Nice. (AP Photo/Christian Alminana)
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Police officers, firefighters and rescue workers are seen at the site of an attack on July 15, 2016, after a truck drove into a crowd watching a fireworks display in the French Riviera town of Nice. A truck ploughed into a crowd in the French resort of Nice on July 14, leaving at least 60 dead and scores injured in an "attack" after a Bastille Day fireworks display, prosecutors said on July 15. / AFP / Valery HACHE (Photo credit should read VALERY HACHE/AFP/Getty Images)
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Story highlights

Nice attacker Mohamed Bouhlel mowed people down with a truck he rented three days previously

He appears to fit a pattern of attackers in which radicalization blended with mental health factors

(CNN) —  

A picture is slowly starting to form of what led Nice, France, attacker Mohamed Bouhlel to carry out the deadly terror attack in the Mediterranean resort city.

French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve said Saturday there were indications the attacker had been “radicalized very rapidly.”

CNN learned Sunday that Bouhlel sent a text message shortly before Thursday’s attack to an unknown recipient saying, “Bring more weapons 5 to C,” according to a representative for the Paris prosecutor’s office.

It appears Bouhlel also had serious mental health challenges. His father said he suffered from nervous breakdowns in which he “broke everything,” and that he believed his son’s mental health deteriorated after his separation from his wife.

By all accounts Bouhlel had a volatile personality. In March he was given a six-month suspended prison sentence after throwing a wooden pallet at a driver following a traffic accident. According to reports in the French media, a neighbor said that Bouhlel was so angered when his wife left him that he “defecated all over the place” and shredded his daughter’s teddy bear.

But Bouhlel does not appear to have launched the attack in a sudden fit of anger. The fact he rented the truck three days beforehand suggests it was premeditated, as does the symbolic date chosen: July 14, the French national day, when thousands gather on the Promenade des Anglais in Nice to witness the fireworks.

A source close to the investigation told CNN that local associates of the Nice attacker detained for questioning have told interrogators that Bouhlel started speaking supportively of ISIS days before the attack. Four of his associates were arrested late Friday and early Saturday in Nice.

Lone wolf?

The Nice attacker appears to fit a pattern. In the last two years, multiple terrorist attacks in the West have involved a blend of radicalization and mental health factors, a category of terrorist some analysts such as Max Abrahms have termed “loon-wolves.”

Terrorism analysts are grappling with the reasons behind the spate of such attacks, but there is some consensus that psychological disorders can narrow the pathway between radical thought and action.

One such case was Man Haron Monis, who carried out a hostage attack in Sydney in December 2014 after pledging allegiance to ISIS. At the inquest into the attacks, he was described as unpredictable and a “dangerous psychopath” suffering from narcissistic personality disorder.

Another case in point was Mohammad Abdulazeez, a naturalized American who shot dead four U.S. Marines and a sailor in Chattanooga, Tennessee, in July 2015. Investigators established Abdulazeez was radicalized online, but according to his family he also suffered from bipolar disorder and depression, which were aggravated three months before the attack with his arrest for a DUI.