A No 10 spokesman said: “The Prime Minister praised the extraordinary courage of the passengers who intervened and helped disarm the gunman, including the British consultant Chris Norman”.
The group has been honored by President Barack Obama and French President Francois Hollande for their bravery.
Without their sangfroid we could have been confronted with a awful drama. They are being attended to by emergency services.
Alek Skarlatos, 22, and Spencer Stone, 23, both originally from Carmichael – are being hailed as heroes. However, the suspect held in France has not been officially identified.
Stone, the injured Air Force servicemen, treated another wounded passenger after sustaining his own injuries, said Sadler’s father, who spoke to his son shortly after the attack. The train was subsequently rerouted to Arras, France.
Hollande had thanked the men by telephone and will meet them in the coming days, French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve said in a press conference.
French authorities said he had lived in the southern Spanish city of Algeciras, frequenting a mosque which is under surveillance there.
One French-American passenger was hit by a bullet and was hospitalized for a chest wound.
“I looked back and saw a guy enter with a Kalashnikov”. Skarlatos picked it up and “started muzzle-thumping him in the head with it”, he said. “I saw a man with what I think was an AK-47 – anyway, it was some kind of machine gun or submachine gun. So, let’s go”, Norman told reporters.
“My friend Alek Skarlatos yells, ‘Get him!'” said Anthony Sadler, who was among the three.
“Then during the process, the guy actually came out, he pulled out a cutter and started cutting Spencer”, he said.
The 22-year-old Skarlatos was on a month-long vacation after his return from deployment in Afghanistan.
“Alek was pretty much like, make sure he gets the credit he deserves because, if it wasn’t for him, things could have ended a lot differently”.
U.S. European Command Commander Gen. Philip M. Breedlove said the Americans were traveling while on leave from the military and “took immediate action to subdue an armed gunman before he could engage his automatic weapon on the train“. El Khazzani’s identity was established through DNA analysis and matches the DNA records Spanish authorities had on file, according to French media.
“The gunman by no means stated a phrase”, he added.
French authorities have been on heightened alert for terrorism since the January attacks on the Charlie Hebdo newsweekly and a Paris kosher supermarket left 20 dead, including the three attackers. He was charged with terrorism offenses, which he denies. “Once in France he went to Syria, then returned to France”.
The reports said the man arrested was of North African origin. “He was relatively thin and not that strong so I didn’t have too much difficulty keeping him pinned down”. Other people on the train also were reported to have helped in subduing the gunman.
“A man’s throat had been slit”, Sadler said. They eventually got the attacker under control, Norman said.
French actor Jean-Hugues Anglade was also slightly hurt, and had stitches in his hand.
Ms Skarlatos said he called her in the immediate aftermath and sounded “very intense”, and she knew he had been involved in “serious business”.
Three people were injured before the shooter was taken down.
“I thought it was the end, that we would die”, he said. He required five stitches.