President Barack Obama has spoken to the three Americans who tackled a gunman aboard a train from Amsterdam to Paris on Friday, preventing what could have been a massacre.
Airman First Class Spencer Stone, Oregon National Guard Specialist Alek Skarlatos and college senior Anthony Sadler, all friends from childhood, were traveling on the high-speed train when they heard a gunshot and glass shattering. The three are all California natives: Stone and Skarlatos are from Sacramento, while Sadler is from Rancho Cordova.
"I saw a guy entering the train with an AK-47 and a handgun, and I just looked over to Spencer and said, 'Let's go, go!'" Skarlatos said.
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The three, along with a British man, Chris Norman, rushed the alleged attacker, who was identified by a french official as Ayoub El-Khazzani. Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve said Spanish authorities had advised French intelligence about the 26-year-old because he belongs to the "radical Islamist movement."
Two people, including Stone, were seriously injured with non-life-threatening injuries. A third received minor injuries. Officials told NBC News that Stone underwent successful hand operation, and along with the other Americans, will be hosted by French President Francois Hollande for a meeting Monday.
Stone was seen Saturday leaving the hospital in Lille where he was treated.
President Obama called the Americans on Saturday to commend the men for their courage, Deputy Press Secretary Eric Schultz confirmed.
"The President expressed his gratitude to these three individuals for their heroic actions forestalling an even greater tragedy. The President wished Airman Stone a full and speedy recovery, and expressed how proud all Americans are of their extraordinary bravery," Schultz said.
Secretary of Defense Ash Carter said in a statement: “I want to thank the brave individuals, including two members of the U.S. military, who stepped forward to prevent an even greater tragedy from taking place aboard that train."