‘Click-click-click’ then 15 sec­onds of terror on French train

The China Post - - INTERNATIONAL -

Amy and her hus­band Joe were sit­ting qui­etly on the Am­s­ter­damParis Thalys train Fri­day evening when the win­dow be­hind her was shat­tered by a bullet, show­er­ing her with glass.

Another pas­sen­ger, Damien, was read­ing a mag­a­zine when he heard what he de­scribed as a “click-clickclick.”

“I thought it was a toy,” the still­shocked 35-year-old told AFP.

What fol­lowed was 15 sec­onds of con­fu­sion and chaos.

A gun­man armed with a Kalash­nikov had opened fire on the high-speed train, car­ry­ing more than 550 pas­sen­gers — but, al­most be­fore by­standers had time to re­act, he had been over­pow­ered by sev­eral pas­sen­gers.

Two peo­ple were wounded in the strug­gle, in­clud­ing, ac­cord­ing to the U.S. De­fense Depart­ment, a mem- ber of the U.S. mil­i­tary, though it was not clear if they were the same peo­ple who had sub­dued the gun­man.

Ten min­utes later the train stopped at Ar­ras, where po­lice ar­rested the shooter, de­scribed by French in­ves­ti­ga­tors as a 26-yearold from Morocco or of Moroccan ori­gin also armed with an au­to­matic pis­tol and a box cut­ter.

In Ar­ras, stunned pas­sen­gers waited to speak to po­lice as the Red Cross dis­trib­uted bot­tled wa­ter.

“The man stopped be­tween two car­riages, fired and it made a clickclick-click sound, not at all like in the films,” Damien told AFP.

“Then the man, who was barech­ested, re­turned to car­riage 12 and some­one in a green T-shirt, with a shaved head, saw him and jumped on him and pinned him to the ground.”

The en­tire scene, he said, “did

not last more than 15 sec­onds.”

‘Blood was ev­ery­where’

Christina Cath­leen Coons, an Amer­i­can tourist, said she had been in car­riage 12 when the shots rang out.

“I heard gun­shots, prob­a­bly two, and a guy col­lapsed,” she re­counted.

“There was a woman in the back­ground, per­haps 40 years old, with her hus­band — I saw the glass over her break be­cause of the shot,” the 28-year-old New Yorker said.

“A guy fell on the ground and blood was ev­ery­where, ap­par­ently he was hit in the neck.”

Pressed to the floor of the car­riage, she quickly be­gan snap­ping pic­tures on her smart­phone — im­ages that swiftly went around the world.

“I thought there was go­ing to be a shoot-out on the train,” she said.

Lau­rent, a 40-year-old from Paris who was in the next car­riage, said Thalys staff rushed into his car.

“A lady came into our train shout­ing ‘he was shot, he is los­ing blood, is there a doc­tor?’” he said.

Lau­rent knew first aid — but he hes­i­tated, he said, un­sure if the gun­man was still on the loose.

Once it emerged that the shooter had been sub­dued, he went to help.

“I saw a per­son on the ground, another per­son had made a tourni­quet around his neck, I saw him move,” he said.

Another per­son lay re­strained on the ground, he said, re­fer­ring to the shooter.

A woman nearby was pan­ick­ing, he said, won­der­ing why the train con­tin­ued to move and help did not come. “There was a lot of panic.”

Amy, the Amer­i­can tourist who had been sit­ting be­neath the win­dow when it was shat­tered by the bullet, was be­ing com­forted by her hus­band Joe.

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