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Saturday, August 22, 2015

"As he was cocking it to shoot it, Alek just yells, 'Spencer, go!' And Spencer runs down the aisle," Sadler said. "Spencer makes first contact, he tackles the guy, Alek wrestles the gun away from him, and the gunman pulls out a box cutter and slices Spencer a few times. And the three of us beat him until he was unconscious."


US servicemen overpower gunman in French train attack


© Philippe Huguen / AFP | Investigators on the platform of Arras station in northern France 
Video by FRANCE 24
Text by FRANCE 24 
Latest update : 2015-08-22

American servicemen overpowered a gunman armed with a Kalashnikov who opened fire on a high-speed train travelling from Amsterdam to Paris on Friday, preventing what the White House said could have been a "far worse tragedy".

Investigators said two of the men who tackled the gunman were American troops who had apparently heard him loading his weapons in a toilet cubicle and confronted him after he came out.
According to their traveling companion and childhood friend Anthony Sadler, a senior at Sacramento State University, the injured American was Spencer Stone of the Sacramento area and the other was Alek Skarlatos of Roseburg, Oregon.
"We heard a gunshot, and we heard glass breaking behind us, and saw a train employee sprint past us down the aisle," Sadler said from France, describing the drama. Then, they saw a gunman entering the train car with an automatic rifle, he said.
"As he was cocking it to shoot it, Alek just yells, 'Spencer, go!' And Spencer runs down the aisle," Sadler said. "Spencer makes first contact, he tackles the guy, Alek wrestles the gun away from him, and the gunman pulls out a box cutter and slices Spencer a few times. And the three of us beat him until he was unconscious."
Another passenger helped tie the gunman up, and Stone then helped another passenger who had been wounded in the throat and losing blood, Sadler said.
"The gunman never said a word," he added.
Two people were wounded in the incident, with the Pentagon confirming that one was a member of the US military. The gunman had a Kalashnikov, an automatic pistol and a box cutter, one police source told AFP.
'Quick thinking'
The suspect, who was arrested when the train stopped at the northern French town of Arras, was a 26-year-old from Morocco or of Moroccan origin who was known to the intelligence services, French investigators said.
US President Barack Obama praised the passengers for their actions.
"The president expressed his profound gratitude for the courage and quick thinking of several passengers, including US service members, who selflessly subdued the attacker," a White House official said. "Their heroic actions may have prevented a far worse tragedy."
The motives for the shooting were not immediately known, although French prosecutors said counter-terrorism investigators had taken over the probe.
France has been on high alert since Islamist gunmen went on the rampage in January, killing 17 people in Paris.
"I condemn the terrorist attack on the Thalys (train) and express my sympathy to the victims," Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel said on Twitter of the incident, which occurred while the train was in Belgium.
'Click-click-click'
The man opened fire at 5.50 pm (1550 GMT), train operator Thalys said.
The gunman was arrested 10 minutes later when the train, with 554 passengers on board, stopped at Arras station where armed police were waiting, a spokesman for the French state rail company SNCF told AFP.
The Pentagon said one of those hurt was a member of the US military but his injuries were not life-threatening.
One of the passengers on the train, who asked to be identified only as Damien, 35, said he had heard the gunman shooting but initially thought the sound came from a toy.
"The man stopped between two carriages, fired and it made a click-click-click sound, not at all like in the films," he said, still clearly shocked.
"Then the man, who was bare-chested, returned to carriage 12 and someone in a green T-shirt, with a shaved head, saw him and jumped on him and pinned him to the ground."
French actor Jean-Hugues Anglade, who appeared in the 1986 cult film "Betty Blue" staring Beatrice Dalle, suffered minor injuries as he tried to activate the train's alarm, a spokesman for French rail operator SNCF said.
The gunman had probably boarded the train in Brussels, a police source said.
Media reports said a Briton was also injured, but the Foreign Office in London said it had no reports of any British casualties.
'Great bravery' 
French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve, who went to Arras in the wake of the incident, also praised the Americans who had subdued the suspect.
They showed "great bravery in very trying circumstances", he said. "Without their cool-headed actions we could have been faced with a terrible incident."
French President Francois Hollande said "everything is being done to shed light" on the shooting.
Witness Nicolas Martinage, 17, said he had seen the victims being taken off the train in Arras.
"There were two people with blood on them, one had a wound to the eye. The second was around 30 and had a bandage on his shoulder. Both men were on stretchers," he told AFP.
One passenger, Patrick Arres, 51, said when the train pulled into Arras station he saw more than 30 armed police on the tracks. "They were looking for someone, people were scared."
France remains on edge after Islamic extremists attacked the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo and a Jewish supermarket in Paris in January in a spree that killed 17 people and shocked the world.
In June, a man beheaded his boss and tried to blow up a gas plant in southern France in what prosecutors say was an attack inspired by the Islamic State group.
In May last year, four people, including two Israeli tourists, were killed when a gunman opened fire at the Jewish Museum in Brussels.
(FRANCE 24 with AP and AFP)

4 comments:

  1. DAILY MAIL

    A US airman who foiled a terrorist attack on a France-bound train was knifed in the neck while disarming the crazed gunman.
    Spencer Stone, who is part of the U.S. Air Force, spotted the 26-year-old Moroccan acting suspiciously and heard him trying to load his weapon in the toilet of the high speed train between Amsterdam and Paris.
    He was travelling with Oregon National Guard member Alek Skarlatos, 22, who was on leave and traveling through Europe at the time after returning from a tour in Afghanistan.
    With the help of Anthony Sadler, from Pittsburg, California, and British IT consultant Chris Norman, they managed to wrestle the attacker to the ground, stopping what could have been a deadly terrorist attack.
    Video footage of the aftermath has emerged, showing what appears to be the gunman lying on the floor, moaning with pain, with his hands and feet tied up with t-shirts after he was beaten unconscious.
    The camera then pans around to the Kalashnikov resting on a seat surrounded by blood stains on the windows.


    Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3206426/U-S-Marines-armed-gunman-onboard-high-speed-train-Amsterdam-Paris.html#ixzz3jWWG6WoC
    Follow us: @MailOnline on Twitter | DailyMail on Facebook

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  2. French media said the arrested man was known to the intelligence services but he has so far refused to talk to police in Arras.
    Two of the American men who overpowered the gunman, Spencer Stone and Alek Skarlatos, are members of the Air Force and the National Guard respectively.

    They heard the man loading a weapon in a toilet cubicle and confronted him when he came out.
    "As he was cocking it to shoot it, Alek just yells, `Spencer, go!' And Spencer runs down the aisle,” said their friend Anthony Sadler, who was travelling with them.

    "Spencer makes first contact, he tackles the guy, Alek wrestles the gun away from him, and the gunman pulls out a box cutter and slices Spencer a few times. And the three of us beat him until he was unconscious.”

    Social worker Christina Coons from New York was on the train and told BBC Radio 5 Live she had ducked under her seat when she heard shots.

    She said she saw a man running through her carriage bleeding heavily from the neck who identified himself as a paramedic.
    She said: "None of these men were in uniform. They were just regular passengers, this afternoon, who stepped up to the plate as soon as they saw what was happening.”

    Anthony Sadler, from Pittsburg, California, Aleck Sharlatos from Roseburg, Oregon, and Chris Norman, a British man living in France (L-R)
    Anthony Sadler from California, Alek Skarlatos from Oregon, and Chris Norman, a British man living in France received medals for their bravery

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

    Chris Norman, a British man living in France, was also hurt. He and the American men were awarded medals for bravery by authorities in Arras.

    Mr Cazeneuve said the passengers were “particularly courageous and showed great bravery in very difficult circumstances", adding: "Without their composure we could have been confronted with a terrible incident."

    “The president expressed his profound gratitude for the courage and quick thinking of several passengers, including US service members, who selflessly subdued the attacker," the White House said in a statement.

    “It is clear that their heroic actions may have prevented a far worse tragedy."

    Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel called the incident a “terrorist attack".

    BBC

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  3. A heavily armed gunman opened fire on a high-speed train travelling from Amsterdam to Paris on Friday before being overpowered by three Americans, two of whom were soldiers.

    Two people were injured in the attack, including one of the Americans who was hospitalised with “serious injuries”, French interior minister Bernard Cazeneuve said.

    President Barack Obama described the men as “heroic”.

    French anti-terrorist police were questioning the gunman who was arrested after the train made an emergency stop at the station of Arras, near the French-Belgian border.

    The motives behind the attack were not immediately known, although French prosecutors said an inquiry was being launched by counter-terrorism investigators. According to the early briefings, the gunman was known to French intelligence services and was Moroccan or of Moroccan origin and aged 26.

    The shooting happened just before 6pm in the last carriage of the TGV train which was carrying a total of 554 passengers. The man had several weapons in his luggage, including a Kalashnikov, an automatic pistol, and razor blades.

    Two of the Americans were in the military, according to their traveling companion and childhood friend Anthony Sadler, a senior at Sacramento State University told Associated Press.

    The injured American was Spencer Stone of the Sacramento area and the other was Alek Skarlatos of Roseburg, Oregon.

    “We heard a gunshot, and we heard glass breaking behind us, and saw a train employee sprint past us down the aisle,” Sadler said from France, describing the drama. Then, they saw a gunman entering the train car with an automatic rifle, he said.

    “As he was cocking it to shoot it, Alek just yells, ‘Spencer, go!’ And Spencer runs down the aisle,” Sadler said.

    “Spencer makes first contact, he tackles the guy, Alek wrestles the gun away from him, and the gunman pulls out a box cutter and slices Spencer a few times. And the three of us beat him until he was unconscious.”

    Another passenger helped tie the gunman up, and Stone then helped another passenger who had been wounded in the throat and losing blood, Sadler said.
    “The gunman never said a word,” he added.

    The French actor Jean-Hugues Anglade, who appeared in the 1986 cult film Betty Blue starring Beatrice Dalle, was also lightly injured in the incident. He was reportedly hurt while breaking the glass to activate the train’s alarm.

    The suspect is believed to have boarded the train in Belgium and the shooting took place as the train was travelling through Belgian territory. The Belgian prime minister Charles Michel tweeted his condemnation of what he called the “terrorist attack”.

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