Train heroes explain how they took down gunman

The men tackled Khazzani and choked him unconscious.


US Air Force serviceman Spencer Stone, 23, whose left arm was bandaged and in a sling, gave a wave as he walked out of a hospital in Lille, in northern France on Saturday night.

Mr Stone said: “He seemed like he was ready to fight to the end”. “So were we”.

French police Saturday identified the gunman as Ayoub El Khazani, 25.

Explaining what El-Khazzani claims he planned to do with the rifle, David said: “He planned to hold up the train, then shoot out a window and jump out to escape”.

Asked if he had advice for anyone who might find themselves in a similar situation, Sadler responded: “To do something”.

The suspected attacker was armed with a Kalashnikov assault weapon, nine chargers, a Luger automatic pistol, a 9mm charger and a box cutter, the minister said.

“A few days later he decided to get on a train that some other homeless people told him would be full of wealthy people travelling from Amsterdam to Paris and he hoped to feed himself by armed robbery”, David said. When the suspect appeared with a gun on their auto, Skarlatos mobilized others, witnesses said.

Stone said had been sleeping soundly in his seat.

He said: “I woke up from a deep sleep and I turned around and he had an AK-47”.

French authorities also told AP El-Khazzani had lived in the southern Spanish city of Algeciras, frequenting a mosque which is under surveillance there.

“I noticed when I removed the round in the chamber of the AK that the primer had been struck, which means he pulled the trigger on the AK”, he said. Chris Norman, a British passenger who helped the American duo pin the gunman down and tie his hands and feet, told reporters he thought the attacker’s rifle got jammed.

Stone had his neck and thumb caught when he and his two close friends rushed Khazzani and prevented further bloodshed. “Our training kicked in after the struggle”.

According to Sadler, Stone was the first to make contact and tackle the gunman.

“I saw a guy entering the train with an AK and a handgun”, he said.

The 554 passengers included French actor Jean-Hugues Anglade, the star of Betty Blue and Nikita, who was lightly wounded breaking glass to sound the alarm.

Norman said he was relieved no one died. “I didn’t realize, or fully comprehend, what was going on”.

The three Americans spoke publicly for the first in Paris Sunday. “He would have been able to operate through all of those magazines”. “It feels like a dream”.

“At that time he was cocking the AK-47”, Sadler said today from the U.S. Embassy in Paris, “So it was either do something or die”. “Don’t just stand by and watch”.


US Ambassador to France Jane Hartley said the three are “truly heroes” who “demonstrated the very best of America in their selfless actions”. They are heroes. Let’s pray for a speedy recovery for the injured Marine. “When most of us would run away, Spencer, Alek and Anthony ran into the line of fire, saying ‘Let’s go.’ Those words changed the fate of many”.

3 hurt in shooting aboard train in France