Three Americans and a French passenger helped subdue a gunman on a high-speed train from Amsterdam to Paris on Friday.
At least three people were injured when a man opened fire with an automatic weapon on a high-speed Thalys train travelling from Amsterdam to Paris on Friday at approximately six pm local time.
Spencer Stone, a member of the U.S. Air Force, and Alek Skarlatos, of the U.S. National Guard, reportedly jumped on the suspect after hearing the sound of a gun loading inside a bathroom and seeing the man walk out with a machine gun.
The gunman overpowered by passengers on a train to Paris may be a radical islamist whose name is on police lists across Europe, France’s Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve said, as investigators interrogated the suspect near the French capital.
“Without them, we probably wouldn’t be here”, Chris Norman, 62, a Briton living in the south of France, said at a televised news conference from the French city of Arras. “We ended up by tying him up”.
Yesterday, a Spanish counter-terrorism source told AFP the jihadist suspect travelled to war-torn Syria previous year and was known to both French and Spanish intelligence services.
The attack began at around 5:50 p.m. (1550 GMT) when a French passenger discovered the gunman in a toilet with a Kalashnikov slung over his shoulder. “We succeeded in controlling him, then got him to the ground”.
“We’re very lucky”, he said.
“It is important to be careful about his identity which is not yet established with certainty”, the minister said.
A friend of theirs, Anthony Sadler, and Chris Norman, a British man who lives in France, also helped restrain the attacker.
After the gunman was out of the picture, Stone realized a civilian on the train was seriously cut at the neck so he applied pressure and effectively saved the man’s life, all while he had his own injuries to the head, neck and thumb. “I ducked down in my seat”.
“He leaves here a young man on an excursion to broaden his world view and to have fun with his buddies, and he comes back France’s national hero”, Sadler said.
French actor Jean-Hugues Anglade was on the train, and the AP quoted his comments to Paris-Match magazine. “I’m just a college student”. “It’s kind of insane”.
Stone was taken to hospital along with another unnamed American passenger, who was hit in the shoulder with a bullet.
“The president expressed his gratitude to these three individuals for their heroic actions forestalling an even greater tragedy”, White House spokesman Eric Schultz said in statement issued at Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts, where the president is vacationing.