France to honour Americans, Briton who disarmed train gunman

President Francois Hollande said the two Americans who first tackled the gunman were soldiers, “but on Friday you were simply passengers”.


They said the gunman was apparently untrained in firearms and that he could have used all his firepower to devastating effect if he had known more about weapons.

With his left arm in a sling to protect his injured hand and a cut over his right eye, Stone, 23, along with his American friends, student Anthony Sadler, also 23, and National Guardsman Alek Skarlatos, 22, gave details of what officials said was a foiled terrorist attack.

The award will be made when Mr Hollande meets the men in the morning, a member of the president’s entourage said after it was revealed that one of the Americans, Spencer Stone, likely also had saved the life of a fellow passenger.

Mr Stone, who was stabbed while stopping the shooter, spoke to the media for the first time last night alongside Mr Skarlatos and Mr Sadler at a news conference at the US Embassy in Paris.

The men said they had no choice but to react when they saw the gunman cocking his assault rifle.

A French passenger, who also tackled the gunman but has chosen to remain anonymous, and another passenger who was hit by a bullet will also receive the medal on a later date.

“But ‘it seemed like he just kept pulling more weapons”, Stone said.

“I went over, saw that he was squirting blood out of the left or right side of his neck”, Stone said.

Mr Norman said he helped the three Americans overpower the gunman because he thought he was “probably going to die anyway”. “So were we”.

“I was able to grab him again and choke him unconscious while Alek was hitting him in the head with the pistol or rifle”.

“I just woke up from a deep sleep and Alek was sitting next to me”, Stone said. The British national named was Chris Norman, 62, a business consultant who helps African entrepreneurs find financing in Europe.

He told police he found a bag in a park in Brussels containing guns and a knife and the idea came to him to rob people.

Under French law, suspects in terrorism-related investigations can be questioned for up to 96 hours, meaning Khazzani could be held until Tuesday evening.

AFP reported that as far back as February 2014, Spanish intelligence services had alerted their French counterparts that Khazzani was an Islamic extremist.

“But at the beginning it was just gut instinct, survival…it wasn’t really a conscious decision”.

“I feel our training mostly kicked in after the assailant was already subdued”.


But the attack was quickly stopped when two off-duty US servicemen and their friend charged the gunman and restrained him.

Train attack heroes to receive France’s highest honour                         Read more