Train attack: Hollande awards passengers with France’s top honour

The struggle was brief, bloody and chaotic.


“My first reaction was to sit down and hide”.

Three people were injured in the attack, including Stone.

“We want to have a celebration”, Nelsen said.

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

Philippe Lorthiois, an official with the Alliance police union, said on French television i-Tele that the two Americans were soldiers.

In the end, the suspect slipped onto the train on Friday afternoon unnoticed, with a prodigious armory: nine spare clips for his Kalashnikov in his backpack along with a 9 mm pistol and a box cutter.

Norman said the harrowing experience didn’t sink in until he tried to go to sleep Friday night.

Another family friend, 65-year-old Janet Kampouries, added: “I think it was divine providence. He was not necessarily very strong”. The French then advised Belgium, according to the official close to the investigation, but it wasn’t clear what, if any, action was taken after that.

“I saw a guy entering the train with an AK (Kalashnikov rifle) and a handgun and I just looked over at Spencer and said, ‘Let’s go, go, ‘” Spencer’s friend, Alek Skarlatos said during an interview aired in the US media.

He is the one who yelled “get him” after he heard a gunshot and noticed that the gunman’s weapon appeared to be jammed.

U.S. Air Force Airman First Class Spencer Stone waves as he departs the Clinique Lille Sud, which specializes in hand injuries, in Lesquin, France, on Saturday.

Earlier Mr Norman had said: “We ended up by tying him up, then during the process the guy actually pulled out a cutter and starting cutting Spencer”.

Stone, 23, who was the first to take on the gunman, was cut in the incident but was expected to be released from a hospital on Saturday.

“He might even meet the president of France before he leaves, so I’m still wrapping my head around that”, he said, laughing.

“Spencer, who has some paramedics training, just clogged up his neck so he wouldn’t die”.

Spencer Stone wasn’t at the press conference with his fellow heroes because of the injuries he sustained.

He had been living in the southern Spanish city of Algeciras with his parents and arrested there three times for drug-dealing, according to Spain’s Interior Ministry.

Mr Skarlatos, who recently served in Afghanistan, and Mr Stone leapt into action after seeing the suspect burst into their carriage.

A passenger aboard the Thalys express train passing through Belgium spotted the gunman coming out of the bathroom with a weapon and began to wrestle with him.

He added: “I just applaud my friends for being on point”.

However, Spain notified French intelligence in February 2014, and he was placed on a watch list of potentially risky individuals, Cazeneuve has said.

The 550 passengers on board the train from Amsterdam to Paris were allegedly about to become victims in a planned massacre.

Cazeneuve said the anti-terrorism prosecutor’s office in Paris was investigating and that Belgian authorities have also opened their own investigation. The authorities will also boost patrols and security checks at other global train stations.

Sadler said he was the last of the three Americans to join the fray.

The minister urged caution about the suspect’s identity, “which is not yet fully established with certainty at this hour”. He along with the others tied up the suspect and later announced that the gunman had been subdued and there was nothing to worry.

The attack has not officially been classified as an act of terrorism, although the senior European counterterrorism official indicated it was.


French President Francois Hollande thanked them for “their exceptional courage and their efficiency to prevent a tragedy”. Stone said had been sleeping soundly in his seat.

Americans being hailed heroes after foiled train attack