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Americans describe overpowering France gunman

Sunday, August 23, 2015 - 01:43

''Alek came up and grabbed the gun out of his hand while I put him in a choke hold,'' said Spencer Stone, an American who helped overpower a gunman on a train in France. Rough Cut (no reporter narration).

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ROUGH CUT (NO REPORTER NARRATION) STORY: Three American citizens who overpowered a gunman on a train in France on Friday (August 21) described the incident at a news conference in Paris, Sunday (August 23). A machine gun-toting attacker wounded three people on a high-speed train in France on Friday before being overpowered by passengers who included an American soldier. Spencer Stone and his two friends Anthony Sadler and Alek Skarlatos were on the train when the incident happened and decided that the best thing they could do was to act in order to prevent the attacker from hurting many people. "It's kind of a long story, but I kind of just woke up from the middle of a deep sleep and my friend Anthony... Alek was sitting next to me, Anthony was across to my right side, and I turned around and I saw he had a, what looked to be a AK-47. And he looked like it was jammed and wasn't working and he was trying to charge the weapon, and Alek just hit me on the shoulder and said 'Let's go,'" Spencer told journalists during the news conference at the U.S. Embassy in Paris. French and Spanish sources close to the case have identified the gunman as a 26-year-old Moroccan named Ayoub el Khazzani who was known to European authorities as a suspected Islamist militant. Anthony Sadler told journalists that the main lesson he took from the event was that it is important to act in similar situations and not just stand aside and watch the crime happening. "These are my friends and I was the third one to get up. And I just want the lesson to be learned that basically in times of crisis like that I would want it to be learned that basically to do something, hiding or sitting back is not going to accomplish anything. The gunman would have been successful if my friend Spencer had not gotten up, so I just want that lesson to be learned going forward in times of like terror like that to please do something, don't just stand by and watch," Sadler said. Khazzani is believed to have lived in Spain for his early adult life and was arrested at least once for drug trafficking, according to Reuters sources. Some Spanish newspapers said he may have been radicalised while in prison. Spanish security sources say Khazzani lived in Madrid between 2007 and 2010 before moving to the southern Spanish port of Algeciras. A community leader in the city told Reuters he had lived there with his family in El Saladillo, a neighbourhood plagued by high unemployment and drug-related crime. According to the Spanish security sources, he travelled to France in 2014 and went to Syria. French security sources said he went to Berlin airport for a flight to Istanbul on May 10 this year. Turkey is a preferred flight destination for would-be jihadists heading for Syria.

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Americans describe overpowering France gunman

Sunday, August 23, 2015 - 01:43