Three ‘heroic” passengers subdue gunman as he opens fire on a train travelling between France and the Netherlands.
The high-speed train was travelling from Amsterdam to Paris when the gunman, who was armed with a Kalashnikov, opened fire. The man was also armed with a knife and was subdued by three men, two of whom – Spencer Stone and Alek Skarlatos – were US military servicemen, with the other – Anthony Sadler – being their student friend.
The suspected gunman ( Moroccan national, 26) was arrested when the train arrived in Arras, northern France. A Spanish official has said that the suspect lived in Spain until 2014, after which he moved to France and at some point took a trip to Syria.
French interior minister Bernard Cazeneuve deemed the men “particularly courageous” explaining that their actions “showed extreme bravery in extremely difficult circumstances.”
The White House stated that the “heroic actions may have prevented a far worse tragedy” with US President Barack Obama further praising the men’s “courage and quick thinking.”
Spencer Stone, Alek Skarlatos and Anthony Sadler overpowered and subdued the gunman. Stone, who is of the US Air Force, was left wounded by the knife and is currently receiving hospital treatment. Briton, Chris Norman assisted in tying the gunman up.
One man, who has not been named, has been left in critical condition after having his throat cut. French actor Jean-Hugues Anglade suffered minor injuries whilst breaking glass in an attempt to activate the train’s emergency alarm.
The attack took place at 3.45pm (local time) on Friday as the train was travelling through Belgium.
French President François Hollande and Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel have pledged to work together closely on the investigation. Mr Cazeneuve said “As always where an act that could be terrorist in nature is involved, the greatest care and the greatest precision will be used”
Officers from France’s special anti-terrorist police force will lead the investigation, according to the Paris prosecutor’s office.