• France's news in English

'My first time in Europe and I stopped a terrorist'

AFP · 22 Aug 2015, 10:43

Published: 22 Aug 2015 10:43 GMT+02:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

"Everything happened very fast," Anthony Sadler, a student travelling with friends Alex Skarlatos and Spencer Stone, both members of the US military, told the media.

"I didn't realise what was happening until I saw a guard run past. I looked back and saw a guy enter with a Kalashnikov. My friends and I got down and then I said 'Let's get him'," said Skarlatos, a 22-year-old member of the National Guard in Oregon, who has recently returned from service in Afghanistan.

"We didn't know if the gun wasn't working or anything like that. Spencer just ran anyway and if anyone had gotten shot, it would have been Spencer and we're just very lucky that nobody got killed," he added.

Stone tackled the gunman but was cut with a knife.

"At that point I showed up and grabbed the gun from him and basically started beating him in the head until he fell unconscious," said Skarlatos.

Sadler added that the man -- later identified as a 26-year-old of Moroccan origin -- "didn't stand a chance."

"As soon as we saw him, we all ran back there. It all happened really fast," said Sadler.

"He didn't say anything. He was just telling us to give back his gun. 'Give me back my gun! Give me back my gun!' But we just carried on beating him up and immobilized him and that was it."

Mobile phone footage from inside the train and shown on several TV stations shows the suspect, a skinny man wearing white trousers and no shirt, flattened on the floor of the train with his hands and feet tied behind his back.

A Kalashnikov is seen leaning against a seat and blood is visible on a window.

Sadler said he had spoken to Stone, recovering from the knife wound in hospital, adding that he was "doing well".

"He can't believe that all this happened," said Sadler. "I'm just a college student. I came to see my friends for my first trip to Europe and we stop a terrorist. It's kind of crazy.

A source close to the investigation said two people were being treated at a hospital in Lille.

Story continues below…

As well as Stone, who received cuts to his neck and hand, another American passenger was shot in the shoulder. No information was given on their condition.

President Barack Obama singled out the Americans, saying "it is clear that their heroic actions may hve prevented a far worse tragedy."

French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve said the group showed "great bravery."

"Without their cool-headed actions we could have been faced with a terrible incident," he said.

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Today's headlines
Jungle shacks set ablaze and torn down as camp razed
All photos: AFP

IN PICTURES: The razing of the Jungle has finally begun.

Frenchwoman finds WW1 grenade among her spuds
Photo: AFP

It could have been a very explosive family dinner.

Refugee crisis
What rights to a future in France for Calais migrants?
Photo: AFP

What does the future hold for the migrants of the Jungle? Can they work or claim social benefits or travel freely inside Europe?

Pampers nappies 'contain carcinogenics': French study
Photo: Robert Valencia/Flick

The substances in the nappies are meant to prevent skin irritation but are cancerous, the study concludes.

France to scrap special prison wings for dangerous jihadists
Photo: AFP

The experiment has been ditched.

Myth busting: Half of French adults are now overweight
A model at the Pulp Fiction fashion show in Paris that represents society's diverse spectrum . Photo: AFP

Hold on, aren't the French all meant to be finely toned specimens with not an ounce of fat on them?

France poised to send bulldozers into Calais Jungle
Photo: AFP

As hundreds of migrants leave, the bulldozers are set to tear down the sprawling Calais shanty town on Tuesday.

UK to spend €40 million on securing Calais border
Photo: AFP

Britain spending big on security in Calais.

Millionaire Riviera hotel boss kidnapped in broad daylight
The city of Nice where the millionaire was bundled into a car infront of shocked onlookers. Photo: AFP

The millionaire head of a luxury hotel in the French Riviera resort of Cannes was kidnapped in Nice in front of shocked onlookers in the middle of the day on Monday.

Where exactly in France are Calais migrants being sent?
Photo: AFP

Here's where the 8,000 migrants in Calais are heading.

The annoying questions only a half French, half Brit can answer
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
Forget Brangelina's chateau - here are nine others you've got to see
The must-see French films of the millennium - Part One
How life for expats in France has changed over the years
Why Toulouse is THE place to be in France right now
Video: New homage to Paris shows the 'real side' of city
The 'most dangerous' animals you can find in France
Swap London fogs for Paris frogs: France woos the Brits
Anger after presenter kisses woman's breasts on live TV
Is France finally set for a cold winter this year?
IN PICS: The story of the 'ghost Metro stations' of Paris
How to make France's 'most-loved' dish: Magret de Canard
Welcome to the flipside: 'I'm not living the dream in France'
Do the French really still eat frogs' legs?
French 'delicacies' foreigners really find hard to stomach
French are the 'world's most pessimistic' about the future
Why the French should not be gloomy about the future
This is the most useful French lesson you will ever have. How to get angry
Why is there a giant clitoris in a field in southern France?
French pastry wars: Pain au chocolat versus chocolatine
Countdown: The ten dishes the French love the most
Expats or immigrants in France: Is there a difference?
How the French reinvented dozens of English words
jobs available