“Spencer, go!’ How hero American airman charged Kalashnikov-wielding terrorist on French train, tackled him and beat him unconscious with the help of his comrade in arms and a friend.
Train staff on board train which was the scene of a foiled terrorist attack accused of abandoning passengers
A man named in reports as Ayoub el-Qahzzani opened fire on train which had more than 550 passengers on board
He was arrested by police at a train station in Arras and was initially taken to hospital but is now in custody
The 26-year-old Moroccan national is a suspected radical Islamist who was known to security services
Air Force airman Spencer Stone ran at the gunman when he opened fire on the high speed service to Paris
Was on the train with friend Oregon National Guard member Alek Skarlatos, 22, who was travelling through Europe
With the help of Anthony Sadler, from California, and British national Chris Norman, they stopped the attack
Three people, including Stone, wounded in the attack and French police have hailed the bravery of the bystanders
French media report the man denies being a terrorist and instead claims he wanted to carry out an armed robbery
Also claims he wanted to ransom off passengers and he found the weapons in a bag ‘by chance in a Brussels Park’
UK Daily Mail The US servicemen who tackled a Kalashnikov-wielding terrorist to the ground in a packed Paris-bound train have described the moment they leaped into action.
Spencer Stone, a U.S. Air Force airman, was travelling with Oregon National Guard member Alek Skarlatos, 22, who was on leave after a tour of Afghanistan, and their Californian friend Anthony Sadler when he heard the gunman load his weapon in the toilet.
‘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. They then saw a gunman entering the train car with an automatic rifle.
‘As he was cocking it to shoot it, Alek just yells, “Spencer, go!” And Spencer runs down the aisle,’ Sadler continued. ‘Spencer makes first contact, he tackles the guy, Alek wrestles 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.’
As they beat the man – named in reports as Ayoub el-Qahzzani – he pleaded with them to return his AK-47, Sadler explained.
‘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 immobilised him and that was it.’
The men, along with fellow passenger British IT consultant Chris Norman, have since been commended for their bravery by President Barack Obama and French President Francois Hollande has tweeted that he will meet the men tomorrow to thank them.
As details emerge of the foiled terrorist attack, staff on board the high speed train have come under fire for allegedly barricading themselves in their staff room and locking the door, leaving passengers to fend for themselves.
French actor Jean-Hugues Anglade, who was on board the Thalys train during the attack has slammed train staff who he claims locked themselves in an office away from the attacker and refused to help the trapped passengers. The actor told Paris Match: ‘We heard screaming passengers in English, ‘He shoots! He shoots! He has a Kalashnikov!”
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.
Press Conference with train heroes: