From Left to right: Anthony Sadler, Alek Skarlatos, and Chris Norman show off their medals.
During a press conference Saturday, three of the heroes who thwarted yesterday’s terrorist attack on a Paris-bound train recounted the chaotic moments when they confronted the armed gunman.
According to Chris Norman, a 62-year-old British businessman who jumped into the fray, most of the credit goes to the three Americans who tackled the Moroccan gunman.
Fighting a terrorist was probably the last thing student Anthony Sadler; Air Force serviceman Spencer Stone; and Alek Skarlatos, a National Guard reservist had on their minds as they traveled through Europe.
Norman described the terrifying moment he realized an armed gunman was on board the train.
Mr Norman told reporters in France: “I saw a guy carrying an AK-47, or at least I assumed it was some kind of machine gun, anyway.
“I ducked down in my seat, Alek looked at what was happening, Spencer looked at what was happening, and Alek said to Spencer, ‘Go get him’.
“Spencer jumped up and tackled him and actually started getting the terrorist under control.
The Brit told reporters that his “first reaction was to sit down and hide.”
Then I heard an American say ‘go get him’. I decided it was really the only chance was to act as a team and try to take down the assailant.
“My thought was I’m probably going to die anyway so let’s go. I’d rather die active trying to get him down than simply sit in the corner and be shot.”
The gunman, who has been identified as Ayoub el-Qahzzani, was hog-tied on to the floor and pummelled by brave US servicemen Spencer Stone and Alek Skarlatos.
Anthony Sadler, an American who was traveling with the two servicemen, said, “I’m just a college student. This is my last year in college. I came to see my friends on my first trip in Europe and we stopped a terrorist. It’s kind of crazy.”
Speaking of the dramatic moment, Alek Skarlatos said: “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 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 immobilised him and that was it.”
Spencer Stone, the Air Force man, got badly slashed by the terrorist’s knife or boxcutter, and his thumb was nearly cut off.
Despite the thumb injury, Stone managed to administer emergency aid to a passenger who had been slashed in the throat and was bleeding profusely.
Sadler said Stone’s actions likely saved the passenger’s life.