France train attack hero Spencer Stone remained in stable but serious condition Thursday night, after being stabbed early in the morning during a fight in Sacramento, California, authorities said.
Stone, 23, was one of three Americans who helped thwart a terror attack aboard a high-speed train bound for Paris in August. He is assigned to Travis Air Force Base in California.
Stone is expected to make a full recovery, though he is heavily sedated, according to a doctor at the hospital where he’s being treated for his stab wounds.
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"I suspect, given his history of recent events, he's quite a fighter," said Dr. Douglas Kirk, chief medical officer at University of Califorina Davis Medical Center, at a press conference Thursday afternoon.
Deputy Chief Ken Bernard of the Sacramento Police Department said in a news conference Thursday that Stone was "enjoying the nightlife" in midtown Sacramento with four friends when his group got into a dispute with two or three other men in the area of 21st Street and K Street.
The argument turned physical, and Stone was stabbed several times around 12:45 a.m. Thursday, Bernard said. A passerby called 911, and firefighters rushed Stone to the hospital.
He is being treated at UC Davis Medical Center "for what appears to be non-life threatening but very significant injuries," according to Bernard, who said investigators don't believe anyone else was hurt.
Kirk later said that Stone had three wounds in his torso: "A stab wound to your torso potentially could injure vital structures," he said, but did not elaborate on Stone's injuries.
He said the incident was not a terror attack and there is "no indication at all" it was a hate crime.
Police are searching for the men involved, who they believe got away in a dark-gray or black 2009-2012 Toyota Camry. Bernard said it appears one person wielding a single weapon stabbed Stone.
An employee of a nearby liquor store, A&P Liquors on K Street, shared surveillance video of a brief but fierce fight purportedly involving Stone. Police have not verified the footage.
About 10 people are involved in the scuffle captured on camera, which moves from a doorway to an intersection. The footage shows a tall person swinging wildly at several others. A police cruiser arrives after about 40 seconds, and most of the group disperses.
Faces can't be plainly identified in the video, which does not clearly show a knife or stabbing.
UC Davis Medical Center released a statement Thursday on behalf of Stone's family.
"The family of Airman Spencer Stone appreciates the outpouring of love and support," the statement read. "Airman Stone is in serious condition. His family requests that the media respect his right to privacy at this time. Any updates to this statement will be posted on this website."
Stone and two friends – Anthony Sadler, a senior at Sacramento University in California, and Oregon Army National Guardsman Alek Skarlatos – were hailed as heroes after subduing a heavily armed terror suspect who opened fire on a train from Amsterdam to Paris on Aug. 21.
Stone charged at Morocco-born Ayooub El-Khazaani and was stabbed with a box cutter during a struggle. He underwent surgery to reattach part of his hand.
"He seemed like he was willing to fight to the end – so were we," Stone said of El-Khazaani.
The three Americans were awarded France's highest honor by President Francois Hollande and were honored at the White House by President Barack Obama. Stone received the prestigious Airman's Medal and a Purple Heart, and Army Specialist Skarlatos received the Army's Soldiers Medal.
The city of Sacramento threw a parade for the three hometown heroes.
A British businessman and a French-American also have been praised for their efforts to stop the gunman.
Skarlatos tweeted Thursday, "Everybody send prayers out to the stone (sic) family today."
Andrew Blankstein and Jodi Hernandez contributed to this report.