California honors hometown heroes who thwarted French train attack

September 12, 2015 11:32
1 minute read.

SACRAMENTO - Three men who foiled an attack by a suspected Islamist militant on a high-speed train headed to Paris were honored as hometown heroes in California's state capital of Sacramento on Friday with a street festival and parade that drew thousands despite scorching heat.

Anthony Sadler, 22; Spencer Stone, a 23-year-old US airman; and National Guardsman Alek Skarlatos, 22, were touring Europe last month, partly to celebrate Skarlatos' return from a tour of duty in Afghanistan, when they took down the man armed with a box-cutter, a pistol and an AK-47 assault rifle.

"It was not a surprise, nor was it an accident that of the hundreds of international passengers on that train that it was three Americans who acted with such courage," Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson said in a speech in a rally on the steps of the state Capitol building. "And it was not a surprise nor was it an accident that these Americans were Sacramentans."

The three spoke briefly, thanking the crowd and highlighting the day's significance as the anniversary of the September 11, 2001, attacks on the United States by Islamist militants.

Stone's left thumb was almost severed in the struggle with the gunman. French President Francois Hollande bestowed France's highest honor on the three men, awarding them the Legion d'honneur.

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