The California hero who tackled a gunman on a high speed Thalys train between Amsterdam and Paris has returned to the United States on Thursday night.
U.S. Air Force airman Spencer Stone left Rammstein, Germany and arrived at Travis Air Force Base in Fairfield, California. He was welcomed by a crowd of 200 supporters, who were waving American flags.
Among his fans was Master Sergeant Tanya Hubbard, Stone’s former supervisor, who declared “It’s not really a surprise to any of us what he did. He’s got a lot of integrity. He’s just an all-around great guy”.
On August 21, Stone suffered injuries on a passenger train, while he and his friends disarmed a heavily-armed man who was planning to commit a terrorist act. Stone, aided by National Guardsman Alek Skarlatos and Sacramento college student Anthony Sadler, subdued the gunman, as the train was passing through Belgium.
As Skarlatos was disarming the attacker, Stone was stabbed, but according to the Pentagon the injury didn’t pose any risk to his life. A few other passengers were hurt and received first aid care from Sadler and Stone.
Eventually, the train was stopped in Arras, in northern France, and the gunman was detained. Some have identified him as Ayoub El-Khazzani, a 26-year old Moroccan with Islamic extremist leanings, but this hasn’t been confirmed with certainty.
Upon his arrival at the U.S. Airforce Base, Spencer Stone had a bandaged hand, but he showed no other signs of illness. He moved swiftly through the crowd, without addressing the reporters. Stone will be transported immediately by army officials to the base hospital, to undergo evaluations and continue treatment.
He has been receiving medical care in Germany ever since he suffered a lacerated thumb and other injuries on the Paris-bound train, and according to doctors he is “progressing well”.
On September 11, the city of Sacramento will hold a parade down the Capitol Mall for the three heroes, in order to celebrate their act of bravery. The American men, as well as British businessman Chris Norman who helped them overpower the gunman, were already awarded the Legion d’Honneur, France’s highest decoration.
Meanwhile, the counterterrorism French police are investigating the incident and questioning the attacker. Afterwards, the Americans will also be asked to detail the accounts, so that a clear picture of the failed terrorist attempt can be established. Belgian authorities are also collaborating on the case, due to the fact that the suspect boarded the high speed train in Brussels.
Image Source: CBSLocal