College Student, Airman, Guardsman Beat Heavily-Armed Terrorist Unconscious in France

Three men who helped to disarm an attacker on a train from Amsterdam to France, Anthony Sadler, from Pittsburg, California, Aleck Sharlatos from Roseburg, Oregon, and Chris Norman, a British man living in France, pose with medals they received for their bravery at a restaurant in Arras. (Reuters)

Yesterday we reported what media outlets were uniforming reporting: three U.S. Marines put a hurting on a gunman in a high speed train in France.

It turns out that the broader strokes of the story were correct—three Americans saved hundreds of Europeans from a suspected North African Muslim terrorist—but the three heroes were not Marines.

Three Americans are being hailed as heroes Saturday for tackling and disarming a gunman on a high-speed train travelling between Amsterdam and Paris Friday.

Anthony Sadler, a senior at Sacramento State University, was traveling with childhood friends Spencer Stone, an Air Force serviceman from Carmichael, California, and Alek Skarlatos, a National Guardsmen from Roseburg, Oregon, when they heard a gunshot and breaking glass.

Sadler told The Associated Press that they saw a train employee sprint down the aisle followed by a gunman with an automatic rifle.

“As he was cocking it to shoot it, Alek just yells, ‘Spencer, go!’ And Spencer runs down the aisle,” Sadler said. “Spencer makes first contact, he tackles the guy, Alek wrestles the gun away from him, and the gunman pulls out a boxcutter and slices Spencer a few times. And the three of us beat him until he was unconscious.”


Stone is recovering in a French hospital from slicing wounds from the terrorist’s box cutter. He was admitted in critical condition with neck wounds, but most media accounts suggest that he is expected to pull through.

Airman Spenser Stone was critically injured subduing the gunman, but will hopefully recover from his injures.

Sadly, the French train crew acted to stereotype in the attack, with train staff running and locking themselves in a compartment of the train, leaving passengers to fend for themselves. This was reported by French actor Jean-Hugues Anglade, who injured himself breaking the glass to sound the train’s emergency alarm.

Skarlatos, 22, had returned from deployment in Afghanistan in July, and Stone is stationed in the Azores.

The suspected terrorist was armed with a fully automatic AKM for which he had 9 30-round magazines, a unidentified semi-automatic handgun with an unknown amount of ammunition, and edged weapons. He only managed to get of one shot before being taken down.

There were 550 people on the train when the (presumed) terrorist attacked. If it were not for the actions of these men, there could have easily been dozens of casualties.


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The incident shows that firearms are indeed mere tools, and that the man (or woman) is the weapon.

It is incredibly rare for people to rise to the occasion if they have not prepared for it, and the vast majority will instead default to their level of training. In this incident, two servicemen and their friend quickly evaluated and responded to a terrorist threat and neutralized the threat.

Get trained, folks. Self-defense firearms training isn’t just about firearms skill, but developing a warrior mindset so that you, too, can be your best at what could be the worst moment in your life.

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