Three California men who received France’s highest honor Monday for thwarting a France terror attack will return to California and a heroes welcome complete with parade. Their valiant actions tackling a rifle-wielding Moroccan man averted what could have been a devastating and deadly terror attack on a train headed to Paris.
Alek Skarlatos, Spencer Stone and Anthony Sadler will be honored with the parade in their hometown of Sacramento. A representative for the Mayor’s office suggested that details for the event are expected sometime Tuesday afternoon.
Sacramento State University student Sadler, National Guardsman Skarlatos and childhood friend Air Force Airman 1st Class Stone, an ambulance service technician, were traveling together on a train to Paris as the events began to unfold.
The men heard a gunshot and breaking glass before a train employee ran down the aisle of the car. The San Francisco Chronicle reports that the men next saw the suspected terrorist appear with a rifle.
“As he was cocking it to shoot it, Alek just yells, ‘Spencer, go!’ And Spencer runs down the aisle,” Sadler said according to the Chronicle. “Spencer makes first contact, he tackles the guy, Alek wrestles the gun away from him, and the gunman pulls out a box cutter and slices Spencer a few times. And the three of us beat him until he was unconscious.”
French President Francois Hollande honored Skarlatos, Stone and Sadler with the Legion d’Honneur for their actions. The same day he tweeted:
Cette Légion d'Honneur récompense le courage et le formidable acte d'humanité de C. Norman, A. Sadler, A. Skarlatos et S. Stone #Thalys
— François Hollande (@fhollande) August 24, 2015
The Moroccan man that allegedly attempted the terror attack was on a terror watch list in Spain according to NBC Bay Area. A small explosive warhead was also found on the train according to information revealed in the Associated Press.
The AP reports, “French authorities formally opened a terrorism investigation Tuesday after a thwarted attack on a high-speed train last week, saying the suspected gunman had watched a jihadi video onboard minutes before the violence.”
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