US Airman Spencer Stone, National Guardsman Alek Skarlatos, and friend Anthony Sadler intervened when they saw a gunman walking through a train holding an assault rifle. “We will continue to monitor the situation and provide updates as they become available”.
The attack took place Friday, as the train sped through Belgium with 554 people on board. He had enough weapons and ammunition to carry out a real carnage, and that’s what he would have done if you hadn’t tackled him at a risk to your own lives. The accolade is only awarded in cases of exceptional merit in military or civilian life, in the service of France.
Hollande said he plans to meet personally in “the coming days” with all of those involved in overcoming the would-be attacker.
Norman, who said he was sitting at the front of the auto, saw a train employee dash past.
The pair moved in to tackle the gunman and take his gun.
Anthony Sadler and Alek Skarlatos – seen here on the left and middle – were on board the train when someone confronted the gunman, who opened fire with a handgun. A struggle ensued and the passenger was shot.
The Washington Post quoted the 23-year-old airman as saying Kahzani, who was also armed with a Luger pistol and a box-cutter, “seemed like he was ready to fight to the end”, adding, “So were we”. “So were we”.
The men – who all grew up in the Sacramento area – in short order tackled the man, wrestled him to the ground, then tied him, saving themselves and passengers and becoming worldwide heroes overnight. They finally restrained him before the train pulled up in Arras in northern France. Stone was released from the hospital Saturday, according to media reports.
The U.S. ambassador to France, Jane Hartley, said the three Americans displayed the best qualities of their country.
“[Stone] was really the first one over there”. He spoke to them by phone Saturday, commending and congratulating them for their courage and quick action. I haven’t got a landline in the flat here. “They galvanized me to go”.
After giving evidence at Arras police station in France, he told waiting press: “My thought was “OK I am probably going to die anyway so let’s go”.
“I’m so proud of (my son)”. His lawyer said her client had been shocked and surprised “to the point of being amused” when he was arrested.
“I’m incredibly grateful to those men….”
“He thought of a hold-up to be able to feed himself, to have money”, she said on BFM-TV, then “shoot out a window and jump out to escape”. “Thank you so much from the bottom of my heart”.
The gunman has been named as 25 year old Ayoub El-Khazzani, a Moroccan national who has been a legal resident of Spain for the past seven years, where he was convicted of a string of petty drug offences and placed on the terrorism watch list after attending a Salafist mosque, the Guardian has reported.
Sophie said that the suspect planned the attack after finding the weapons at a public park in Brussels, Belgium. When the suspect appeared with a gun in their vehicle, he mobilized others, witnesses said.
“Your heroism should be an example to us all and a source of inspiration”, the French leader said. “What is he supposed to eat?” the senior Khazzani said.
ISIS operatives are using Turkey as a base to redirect European extremists trying to travel to Syria to launch attacks back home, according to Cruickshank.
El Khazzani is still being questioned by anti-terrorist police. He came to the attention of Spanish authorities for making hardline speeches defending jihad.
The suspect is in custody and being interrogated.