REUTERS/Michel EulerFrench President Francois Hollande (L) awards U.S. Airman First Class Spencer Stone (C) with the Legion d’Honneur (the Legion of Honour) medal as U.S. National Guardsman Alek Skarlatos applauds during a ceremony at the Elysée Palace in Paris, France, August 24, 2015.
Officials did not disclose a possible motive for the Friday attack, but interior minister Bernard Cazeneuve said the Spanish had advised French intelligence about the suspect because he belongs to the “radical Islamist movement”.
Spencer Stone, the U.S. airman who helped tackle a gunman on a French train on Friday, also plugged the blood-spurting wound of a fellow passenger with his fingers, he said at a news conference on Sunday.
Stone, Sadler and Skarlatos, who had been vacationing in France at the time of the incident, were assisted by British national Chris Norman in restraining Kahzzani until authorities could arrive. “So this Legion d’Honneur is representative of your courage and also your incredible act of humanity … to save those also on the train“.
IT consultant Chris Norman, 62, helped two off-duty US servicemen and their friend overpower suspected terrorist Ayoub El-Khazzani, a Moroccan national, after he burst into a packed train carriage armed with an AK47, pistol and boxcutter. When Stone charged at the gunman, he was attacked with a box cutter. “His intentions wee pretty clear”.
“My brother had to take the gun from the guy and started hitting him in the face with it because he was stabbing his friend”, explained Solon.
The suspect was restrained then held on the train’s floor by passengers.
“Stone added: “[The gunman] seemed like he was ready to fight to the end. Alek just hit me on the shoulder and said “Let’s go” and ran down, tackled him.
‘If he knew what he was doing or even got lucky and did the right thing… we probably wouldn’t be here today along with a lot of other people’.
El-Khazzani’s lawyer said that he was homeless and trying to rob passengers on the train to feed himself.
Another French man who attempted to take on the gunman has been named by The Telegraph as Mark Moogalian, a 51-year-old professor at the Sarbonne who was shot in the neck after he tackled El-Khazzani. “Am I going to simply stand still or am I going to try to be active if the situation presents itself?” he said. “It makes no sense”, he said of his son, who lived with him in Algeciras until he left for France in 2014.
El-Khezzani’s lawyer, Sophie David, told Le Monde newspaper the gunman is ill-educated, emaciated, and told her he had spent the past six months traveling between Belgium, Germany and Austria, as well as France and Andorra.