Three Americans Praised for Stopping Gunman on Paris-Bound Train

Spencer Stone, Anthony Sadler, and Alek Skarlatos
Spencer Stone, Anthony Sadler, and Alek Skarlatos stopped a gunman on a train Friday. AFP/Getty Images; Philippe Huguen/AFP/Getty Images (inset)

Three Americans are receiving high praise after they helped stop a gunman while on board a high-speed train headed from Amsterdam to Paris on Friday, Aug. 21.

Childhood friends Anthony Sadler, Oregon National Guard Specialist Alek Skarlatos, and Airman First Class Spencer Stone — along with a British man named Chris Norman — charged at the alleged gunman after he came out of a bathroom armed with an AK-47, automatic pistol, nine magazines of ammunition, and a box cutter, according to Le Monde.

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“My friend Alek yells, ‘Get him!’ So my friend Spencer immediately gets up to charge the guy, followed by Alek, then myself,” Sadler, a college senior, told CNN of the events.

“The three of us beat up the guy. In the process, Spencer gets slashed multiple times by the box cutter, and Alek takes the AK away,” he continued.

“Everybody just started beating the guy while Spencer held the chokehold until he went unconscious,” Skarlatos told Sky News.

Stone suffered serious but non-life-threatening injuries, and has undergone successful surgery on his hand, officials told NBC News.

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According to the Associated Press, one man was shot with a handgun.

Authorities believe that the alleged gunman is a 26-year-old Moroccan man. Spanish authorities had flagged him in 2014 because of his ties to radical Islam, according to NBC News. 

Bernard Cazeneuve, the French Interior Minister, said that French President Francois Hollande has called the three American men to express his gratitude for thwarting the train attack, and will be meeting with them soon. The men have also received medals for their bravery. 

President Barack Obama has also talked to the three men and praised them for their bravery.

“The President expressed his gratitude to these three individuals for their heroic actions forestalling an even greater tragedy,” Deputy Press Secretary Eric Schultz said. “The President wished Airman Stone a full and speedy recovery, and expressed how proud all Americans are of their extraordinary bravery.”

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