Video: Train passengers apprehend gunman

  • 23/08/2015
(Photo: supplied)
(Photo: supplied)

Footage has emerged purportedly showing the moments after a gunman aboard a High speed train headed from Amsterdam to Paris was apprehended.

The video which looks to be taken on a cellphone shows the gunman, who has been apprehended, lying on the ground with his legs tied together. The recording then flicks to an injured man, being tended to by other passengers.

The suspect, who has been named as 25-year-old Moroccan national Ayoub El Khazzani, was wrestled to the floor by three American passengers after opening fire with an assault rifle on Friday evening (local time), and is now being interrogated by counter-terrorist officials near Paris.

French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve confirmed that Spanish intelligence services had flagged the man to France "due to his membership of the radical Islamist movement."

Armed with a Kalashnikov assault rifle, a Luger automatic pistol, nine cartridge clips and a box-cutter, the attacker opened fire on board the high-speed train just after it crossed from Belgium into northern France.

A 28-year-old French passenger spotted the gunman as he exited a toilet cubicle and tried to disarm him, but Khazzani slipped away and fired several shots.

Then a Franco-American traveller in his 50s clashed with the man and was shot. But the attack was quickly stopped when two off-duty US servicemen and their friend charged the gunman and overpowered him.

"I looked back and saw a guy enter with a Kalashnikov. My friends and I got down and then I said 'Let's get him'," Alek Skarlatos, a 22-year-old member of the National Guard in Oregon who recently returned from Afghanistan, told France's BFMTV.

Spencer Stone, who serves in the US Air Force, was first to the gunman who slashed him in the neck and almost sliced off his thumb with a box-cutter. He was released from hospital Saturday after successful surgery on his hand.

"At that point I showed up and grabbed the gun from him and basically started beating him in the head until he fell unconscious," said Skarlatos.

A British business consultant, 62-year-old Chris Norman, also assisted in subduing the man, and said he thought his gun may have malfunctioned.

"I don't know why he didn't manage to fire but I think it's because his weapon jammed," he told reporters in Arras.

He said Stone had taken the gunman in a chokehold and Norman took his right arm to stop him reaching his gun.

With the man floored, Skarlatos left to search for more gunmen, while Norman helped tie up the attacker with his tie.

Despite his own injuries, Stone then went to help a man who had been shot in the shoulder.

French President Francois Hollande is to thank the Americans and the Briton in person at the Elysee Palace on Monday. Their bravery has also been praised by US President Barack Obama and Prime Minister David Cameron.

But French actor Jean-Hugues Anglade, who was slightly injured while pulling the train alarm, criticised the train's staff for locking themselves in the locomotive leaving the passengers to fend for themselves.

"We were pounding on it (the door), we were screaming for the personnel to let us in," the actor, known for his role in cult film "Betty Blue", told Paris Match. "It was in vain... Nobody responded."

Train company managers denied the staff had fled, saying they had gone to the engine to alert the conductor in order to stop the train. Several passengers were allowed to take refuge with the workers, management claimed.

3 News/ AFP