‘Wrong Place, Right People’: Heroes Of The FrenchTrain Shooting
A Frenchman, a Brit, and three Americans reacted quickly to the terrorist with an AK-47.
LILLE, France | By Morade Azzouz
A day ago he was just another tourist on a train. By Saturday, U.S. Airman First Class Spencer Stone was recovering from knife wounds in a hospital in France, being thanked for foiling what the French government called an attempted terrorist attack.
Stone was touring Europe with two friends he grew up with in California. The three men in their 20s helped overpower a Kalashnikov-toting suspected Islamist militant on a high speed train heading for Paris from Amsterdam.
Among the other heroes of the night-time drama was a Frenchman on his way to the toilet who was first to tackle the assailant as he entered the carriage, and a 62-year-old Briton who still had blood spattered over his shirt as he spoke to journalists on Friday night.
But it may have been Stone, 23, of Lajes Air Base, Azores, who took the biggest risk.
“He was the first one to jump on him, he’s the one who got cut up … none of us are injured but Spencer took a few injuries and he just had no fear,” 23-year-old student Anthony Sadler, told Reuters.
“That’s our friend so once we saw him go we had to go and join him … we couldn’t have just left everybody die like that. It was a crazy situation, said Sadler, a student at Sacramento State University.
Sadler said everything happened very fast as the attacker, armed with an automatic pistol and a box cutter as well as the AK-47 assault rifle, appeared to try to clear his weapon which seemed to be jammed.
One passenger was hit by a bullet, and was in a serious but stable condition, authorities said. Stone is due to be released from hospital later on Saturday.
“I woke up to basically people ducking and then I was, like, ‘Why is everybody ducking?’ and then, when I turned round to look, he, the gunman, had just entered the car with the AK and then I was, like: ‘This is really happening’,” Sadler said.