Hero Americans who foiled train terrorist attack disarmed gunman 3 times

The three Americans who stopped a potential mass-casualty terror attack on a French bullet train battled the gunman for several minutes before finally subduing him.

The account of their actions that is emerging reveals some extraordinary courage on the part of the two members of the armed forces who were taking the train with their friend from California.

Wall Street Journal:

The two service members were sitting with a friend on the train when they heard a gunshot and breaking glass, according to accounts from one of the men and a U.S. official briefed on the attack.

Crouching behind their seats, the Americans decided they had to act. Airman First ClassSpencer Stone ran toward the gunman and tackled him.

“I told him to go, and he went,” Alek Skarlatos, a member of the Oregon National Guard who had been deployed in Afghanistan, said on French television on Saturday morning.

“Spencer ran a good 10 meters to get to the guy. And we didn’t know that his gun wasn’t working or anything like that,” he added. Mr. Skarlatos then said he ran up behind and grabbed the assailant’s AK-47 rifle, and then their friend, student Anthony Sadler, came to help.

French officials on Saturday said the gunman has identified himself with the name of a 26-year-old Moroccan national who had been flagged last year by intelligence services as belonging to the “radical Islamist movement.”

Cautioning that French officials haven't yet confirmed the suspect is indeed who he claims to be, French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve added that the individual he purports to be was living in Spain in 2014 and Belgium in 2015. He was flagged to French authorities in February 2014, Mr. Cazeneuve added.

French officials praised the Americans’ bravery, as well as that of an unnamed Frenchman who initially confronted the man. The office of French President François Hollande said he had spoken by phone with those who had subdued the attacker, and would invite them shortly to the Élysée Palace to thank them personally.

“All three made a show of courage—full of bravery—that everyone recognizes,” Mr. Cazeneuve said.

The story gets even more incredible:

Even after the assailant was tackled on the train on Friday, however, the struggle wasn’t over. According to the U.S. official, the gunman then drew a pistol and attempted to shoot the Americans, leading Airman Stone to disarm him a second time.

In the struggle, another person—a Franco-American man—was shot, but his injuries aren't life-threatening, Mr. Cazeneuve said.

The gunman also drew a blade, possibly a box cutter, and began slashing. The cuts injured Airman Stone on the neck and hand, but his injuries also weren’t life-threatening, Mr. Skarlatos said.

The Americans, aided by Mr. Sadler, then hit the attacker until he became unconscious, Mr. Skarlatos added.

A moving train is a perfect terrorist target – a narrow corridor with no place to hide for the passengers.  Without the intervention of the Americans, it seems likely that the body count would have been horrific.  The terrorist had not only an AK-47, but also more than 200 rounds of ammunition.

A close call, indeed.  But questions remain about how the terrorist got an automatic weapon on board.  Weren't authorities paying attention when he got on the train?  And then there's the news that French intelligence had been aware of the terrorist for more than a year.

Another "known wolf" terrorist.

The three Americans who stopped a potential mass-casualty terror attack on a French bullet train battled the gunman for several minutes before finally subduing him.

The account of their actions that is emerging reveals some extraordinary courage on the part of the two members of the armed forces who were taking the train with their friend from California.

Wall Street Journal:

The two service members were sitting with a friend on the train when they heard a gunshot and breaking glass, according to accounts from one of the men and a U.S. official briefed on the attack.

Crouching behind their seats, the Americans decided they had to act. Airman First ClassSpencer Stone ran toward the gunman and tackled him.

“I told him to go, and he went,” Alek Skarlatos, a member of the Oregon National Guard who had been deployed in Afghanistan, said on French television on Saturday morning.

“Spencer ran a good 10 meters to get to the guy. And we didn’t know that his gun wasn’t working or anything like that,” he added. Mr. Skarlatos then said he ran up behind and grabbed the assailant’s AK-47 rifle, and then their friend, student Anthony Sadler, came to help.

French officials on Saturday said the gunman has identified himself with the name of a 26-year-old Moroccan national who had been flagged last year by intelligence services as belonging to the “radical Islamist movement.”

Cautioning that French officials haven't yet confirmed the suspect is indeed who he claims to be, French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve added that the individual he purports to be was living in Spain in 2014 and Belgium in 2015. He was flagged to French authorities in February 2014, Mr. Cazeneuve added.

French officials praised the Americans’ bravery, as well as that of an unnamed Frenchman who initially confronted the man. The office of French President François Hollande said he had spoken by phone with those who had subdued the attacker, and would invite them shortly to the Élysée Palace to thank them personally.

“All three made a show of courage—full of bravery—that everyone recognizes,” Mr. Cazeneuve said.

The story gets even more incredible:

Even after the assailant was tackled on the train on Friday, however, the struggle wasn’t over. According to the U.S. official, the gunman then drew a pistol and attempted to shoot the Americans, leading Airman Stone to disarm him a second time.

In the struggle, another person—a Franco-American man—was shot, but his injuries aren't life-threatening, Mr. Cazeneuve said.

The gunman also drew a blade, possibly a box cutter, and began slashing. The cuts injured Airman Stone on the neck and hand, but his injuries also weren’t life-threatening, Mr. Skarlatos said.

The Americans, aided by Mr. Sadler, then hit the attacker until he became unconscious, Mr. Skarlatos added.

A moving train is a perfect terrorist target – a narrow corridor with no place to hide for the passengers.  Without the intervention of the Americans, it seems likely that the body count would have been horrific.  The terrorist had not only an AK-47, but also more than 200 rounds of ammunition.

A close call, indeed.  But questions remain about how the terrorist got an automatic weapon on board.  Weren't authorities paying attention when he got on the train?  And then there's the news that French intelligence had been aware of the terrorist for more than a year.

Another "known wolf" terrorist.