Anthony Sadler, Train Hero, Tells Jimmy Fallon About Disarming Gunman En Route to Paris

Anthony Sadler and Jimmy Fallon
Anthony Sadler, one of the three American heroes who valiantly disarmed a gunman on a train headed for Paris last month, opened up to Jimmy Fallon and Lester Holt about his story -- watch here. Douglas Gorenstein/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images

Hello to this hero! Anthony Sadler, one of the three American men who valiantly disarmed an AK-47-toting gunman on a train headed for Paris last month, opened up to NBC's Jimmy Fallon and Lester Holt on Tuesday, Sept. 1, about his actions.

Sadler, 23, made headlines late last month after he and two friends, Spencer Stone and Alek Skarlatos, saved the lives of many passengers while aboard the Paris-bound high-speed train.

"It was 5 p.m. on Aug. 21, in the middle of our Europe trip," Sadler recalled to Fallon on The Tonight Show. "I was actually asleep at the time, and a gunshot and glass starts breaking. And a train employee sprints down the hallway and that commotion kind of wakes me up. I look over at my friends, and they're looking back and they duck down… I look back and there's a gunman cocking an AK, and I'm like, 'Is this real? Is somebody playing a joke?'"

What happened after was a blur. "The next second I look back at my friends [both of whom are U.S. servicemen]," Sadler continued. "And he's just like, 'Go.' My friend Spencer got up and ran. My friend Alek got up and ran. So then I got up when I saw them go. Both of them get up, and I just followed them."

He recalled exactly how they disarmed the terrorist. "I fully expected a gunshot to go off before we got there, and it just never did," Sadler told Fallon. "Spencer hopped on him. A few seconds later, me and Alek got there and we got to beat him down a little bit… In the midst of us beating him up, he dropped the gun and pulled out a box cutter."

So then, the trio "knocked him unconscious" and "tied him up" before the train pulled over at the next stop about 20 minutes later. During that time, one man — later identified as French-American academic Mark Mooligan — was bleeding profusely from a gunshot wound in the neck. His life was saved by one of the heroes, who stuck his two fingers in his neck to stop the bleeding.

According to Sadler, their life-saving actions almost did not happen. "We were having so much fun in Amsterdam that we almost stayed," Sadler said, joking that they wanted to remain in the Dutch city "because it's beautiful, museums left and right. We had a great time out there!"

After the incident, Sadler instinctively called his father, who was in the Tonight Show audience on Tuesday. "I called him and was like, 'How do I describe what just happened,'" he recalled. He told his dad, "'Well first off, I'm okay, I'm fine. But a terrorist was on our train and he tried to shoot everybody, and me, Spencer, and Alek had to jump him.' And he was like, 'Okay….'"

That same day, Sadler also told NBC News' Holt that he's since replayed all of the possibilities of what could have happened in his mind — and would do what he did again. "I just want everybody to know that they should do something," he said.

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