By Saturday evening, having left the hospital where he was operated on after being severely cut by the suspect, Stone and his friends were being hailed as heroes by French officials and citizens.
Stone spoke at a news conference at the U.S. ambassador’s residence in Paris along with Anthony Sadler and National Guardsman Alek Skarlatos.
President Obama called the men on Saturday, and French President Francoise Hollande is scheduled to meet with the men, according to BBC.
Another passenger helped tie the gunman up, and Stone then helped another passenger who had been wounded in the throat and losing blood, Sadler said.
A Spanish counter-terrorism source said he had lived in Spain for seven years until last year and had travelled to Syria from France. One round struck a victim believed to be a man of dual French and American citizenship.
“Spencer ran a good ten meters to get to the guy and we didn’t know that his gun not working or anything like that, Spencer just ran anyway and if anybody would have gotten shot it would have been Spencer for sure and we’re very lucky that nobody got killed, especially Spencer”. “We just kind of acted”. “There wasn’t much thinking”.
His father and stepmother said it’s a lot to take in.
Sadler added that the man – later identified as a 26-year-old of Moroccan origin – “didn’t stand a chance”.
With Mr Stone holding the gunman in a headlock, the passengers hit him until he fell unconscious.
Mr Stone said: “He seemed like he was ready to fight to the end”.
The friends were on the 300 mile train ride from Amsterdam, Holland to Paris, France near British businessman Chris Norman.
Skarlatos’ parents, Karen and Emanuel from Roseburg, Oregon, said they never doubted the young men’s courage.
A third American, Anthony Sadler of Sacramento, Calif., a friend who was traveling with the two servicemen, also helped restrain the suspect.
French authorities also told AP El-Khazzani had lived in the southern Spanish city of Algeciras, frequenting a mosque which is under surveillance there.
“I saw a guy entering the train with an AK-47 and a handgun, and I just looked over to Spencer and said, ‘Let’s go, go!'” Skarlatos recalled. He said he kept the position until paramedics arrived. But if not for the quick action by the Americans and the suspect’s malfunctioning automatic rifle, many lives might have been lost. He was subdued by the Americans while the train was traveling through Belgium, but was taken into custody in France after the train was rerouted to the northern French town of Arras.
“He says that the Kalashnikov didn’t work and he was brought under control immediately without a single shot being fired”, David said. His lawyer said her client had been shocked and surprised “to the point of being amused” when he was arrested.