Ac­tions may have pre­vented ‘far worse tragedy’: Obama

The China Post - - INTERNATIONAL -

Nor­man told French tele­vi­sion that he helped tie the gun­man up. Stone then quickly turned to help another pas­sen­ger who had been wounded in the throat, stop­ping his bleed­ing un­til paramedics came, Sadler said.

Through­out the brief but ter­ri­fy­ing episode, Sadler said, “The gun­man never said a word.”

Sadler said French author­i­ties were to speak with him Satur­day in Ar­ras, where sci­en­tific po­lice cir­cu­lated around the cor­doned-off train and train sta­tion.

‘Big, brave, strong guys’

The U.S. De­fense Depart­ment con­firmed that “one U.S. mil­i­tary mem­ber was in­jured in the in­ci­dent. The in­jury is not life-threat­en­ing.”

U.S. Pres­i­dent Barack Obama was briefed on the shoot­ing, and said in a state­ment, “While the in­ves­ti­ga­tion into the at­tack is in its early stages, it is clear that their heroic ac­tions may have pre­vented a far worse tragedy.”

Stone was to un­dergo surgery but he is do­ing “rel­a­tively well,” Ar- ras Mayor Fred­eric Le­turque told the AP Satur­day.

Skar­latos, 22, had re­turned from a de­ploy­ment in Afghanistan in July, and Stone is sta­tioned in the Azores, ac­cord­ing to Skar­latos’ step-mother Karen Skar­latos.

She spoke with her step-son im­me­di­ately af­ter the in­ci­dent. “He sounded fine, but he was in­tense — he sounded like he had just thwarted a ter­ror­ist at­tack.”

“Alek and Spencer, they’re big, brave, strong guys and they de­cided they were go­ing to tackle him. And they did,” she told the AP from Ore­gon. “Spencer got a cou­ple good slices on him. But they were able to sub­due him while the train was still mov­ing.”

The Ar­ras mayor praised the “ex­tra­or­di­nary re­flexes” of the Amer­i­cans and awarded them spe­cial medals overnight.

“I wanted them to feel recog­ni­tion not only from the city but also from French peo­ple in gen­eral and from all peo­ple who are against ter­ror­ism,” he said.

“We avoided the worst, but the sit­u­a­tion was tough, for them and for ev­ery­one,” he said.

The at­tacker did not fire his au­to­matic weapon but wounded one man with a hand­gun and the other with a blade, said Philippe Lor­thiois, an of­fi­cial with the Al­liance po­lice union.

A third per­son, French ac­tor Jean-Hugues Anglade, suf­fered a mi­nor in­jury while ac­ti­vat­ing the train’s emer­gency alarm, Lor­thiois said.

The sus­pect is a 26-year-old Moroccan, ac­cord­ing to Sli­man Hamzi, an of­fi­cial with the Al­liance po­lice union who spoke on French tele­vi­sion i-Tele.

Euro­pean po­lice agency Europol has of­fered its sup­port to the in­ves­ti­ga­tions.

Europe’s ma­jor rail sta­tions, such as Paris’ Gare du Nord and Brus­sels’ Gare du Midi, are pa­trolled by sol­diers armed with ri­fles, but pas­sen­gers can board most high-speed trains with­out pass­ing through me­tal de­tec­tors or hav­ing their bags searched or show­ing their pass­ports.

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