Left Photo from left to right: British businessman Chris Norman, U.S. university student Anthony Sadler, French President Francoise Hollande, U.S. Airman Spencer Stone with arm sling and U.S. Guardsman Alek Sklarto during a ceremony a Elysee Palace in Paris, France today, August 24, 2015. The three Americans and Norman received France’s highest honor and personal thanks from French officials for stopping a potential catastrophe on a passenger train in Europe last Friday.
Photos Courtesy: abcnewsgo.com, cbsnews.com, Reuters, U.S. French Embassy Twitter
Three vacationing Americans, a British businessman and a French passenger helped thwart an attack in a speeding train from Amsterdam to Paris last Friday. French President Francoise Hollande awarded France’s highest honor, the Legion of Honor Award to them in Paris today.
U.S. Airman Spencer Stone, 23, National Guardsman Alek Sklartos, 22 recently back from Afghanistan and their friend, Anthony Sadler, 23, a senior at Sacramento State University in California were on the passenger train from Amsterdam to Paris. The vacationing American friends took down a heavily armed, homeless gunman, Ayoub El-Khazzani, a 26 year-old Moroccan. El-Khazzani boarded the train in Brussels, Belgium, according to the Associated Press. The gunman’s attorney says his homeless client boarded the train to rob it. The investigation continues on whether El-Khazzani had terrorist connections.
A French citizen saw the gunman near the train’s bathroom.
Sklartos told the Associated Press it was gut instinct that propelled them into action and their military training helped, too. A British businessman Chris Norman on the train also helped them hold down the gunman. Spencer also saved the life of another train passenger, NBC News reports.