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Americans recount how they subdued train attack gunman

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U.S. Spencer Stone waves as he leaves the police station in Arras

PARIS >> Recounting how he and two other American friends took down a gunman on a high-speed train in France, U.S. airman Spencer Stone said Sunday that he was awakened from a deep sleep before springing into action and subduing the attacker.

Stone said he turned around and saw a man holding an assault rifle and that it “looked like it was jammed and it wasn’t working.”

In his first remarks since Friday’s attack on an Amsterdam-to-Paris train, Stone said he and his friends took down the gunman before choking him unconscious.

“He seemed like he was ready to fight to the end,” Stone said. “So were we.”

Stone spoke at a live news conference at the U.S. ambassador’s residence in Paris along with Anthony Sadler and National Guardsman Alek Skarlatos.

Stone is hailed not only for being the first to grapple with the attacker, but for helping to stop the bleeding in a French-American passenger wounded by a bullet.

Stone, wearing a sling on his left arm, was wounded in the attack and said he will receive further medical treatment in Germany.

Stone said the attacker kept pulling out weapons from his bag, and that he was stabbed in the neck and sliced on his hand.

Stone said his thumb was reattached during his hospital stay in Lille. He thanked the French doctors, police officers and others.

Skarlatos said military training played a part in subduing the gunman.

“In the beginning it was mostly gut instinct, survival,” he said. “Our training kicked in after the struggle.”

U.S. Ambassador Jane Hartley praised the three Americans, calling them heroes.

“We often use the word hero and in this case I know that word has never been more appropriate,” Hartley said.

“They are truly heroes. When most of us would run away, Spencer, Alek and Anthony ran into the line of fire, saying ‘Let’s go.’ Those words changed the fate of many.”

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