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France: 2 Americans subdue gunman on high-speed train

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France: 2 Americans subdue gunman on high-speed train
GREG KELLER, Associated Press

PARIS (AP) — A gunman opened fire on a high-speed train traveling from Amsterdam to Paris on Friday, wounding two people before two American passengers subdued him, officials said.

French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve, speaking in Arras in northern France where the suspected was detained, said one of the Americans was hospitalized with serious wounds. Their names were not immediately released.

Philippe Lorthiois, an official with the Alliance police union, said on i-Tele that the two Americans were soldiers. In Washington, the Pentagon said it "can only confirm that one U.S. military member was injured in the incident. The injury is not life-threatening."

A White House official told reporters that President Barack Obama was briefed on the shooting, and said, "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."

Contrary to early reports, Lorthiois said the attacker did not fire his automatic weapon but wounded one man with a handgun and the other with a blade of some kind.

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

Investigators from France's special anti-terror police are leading the investigation, a spokeswoman for the Paris prosecutor's office said.

"As always where an act that could be terrorist in nature is involved, the greatest care and the greatest precision will be used," Cazeneuve said.

Cazeneuve said the two Americans "were particularly courageous and showed great bravery in very difficult circumstances" and that "without their sangfroid we could have been confronted with a terrible drama."

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

The attack took place at 1545 GMT while the Thalys train was passing through Belgium, according to a statement from the office President Francois Hollande. Hollande said he's spoken with Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel, and the two leaders pledged to cooperate closely on the investigation.

A young woman said on i-Tele that she was in the carriage next to the one which the gunman struck.

"I wouldn't call it a fusillade, because even in the next wagon we didn't hear any shots," said Margaux, who declined to give her last name. She said passengers remained "relatively calm," and some showed no concern until police boarded the train.

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.

One exception is the Eurostar between Paris and London. Passengers on those trains must pass through a metal detector and have their bags scanned as well.

Thalys is owned by the French and Belgian railways and operates high-speed trains serving Paris, Brussels, Amsterdam and Cologne, Germany.

French authorities have been on heightened alert since Islamic extremist attacks in January left 20 people dead, including the three attackers.

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-- (c) Associated Press 2015-08-22

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Please skip the trial. Hand him over to the people for his fate. Put him in the street and televise it.

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It's not clear.....Did the gunman just start shooting randomly, or did he attack the soldiers (and lose, haha som nom na)? That the soldiers were the ones injured suggests the latter.

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Unbelievable that they don't have security checks before boarding.

Very lucky that these soldiers stopped this nutter before he went on a killing spree. Nowhere to hide on a train!

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Americans coming to the rescue of France again.

Wonder what the rest of the passengers were doing while the Americans defended them. Probably hightailing it out the back.

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the marines just happened to overhear him loading in the locked toilet then jumped him on exit...

Yes ok because thats a sound youd hear on a train perchance every day.

get outa here theres something more to it than heros save the train from a massacre.

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It's not clear.....Did the gunman just start shooting randomly, or did he attack the soldiers (and lose, haha som nom na)? That the soldiers were the ones injured suggests the latter.

Your suggestion that it is OK to take a gun on a train to shoot soldiers is despicable.

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Congrats for the US soldiers - outstanding!

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It's not clear.....Did the gunman just start shooting randomly, or did he attack the soldiers (and lose, haha som nom na)? That the soldiers were the ones injured suggests the latter.

Not enough info right now, but seems he was getting ready to start shooting and the soldiers stopped him, getting wounded in the process. The attacker had a kalashnikov rifle. I would guess that draws a bit of attention when displayed!

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

Funny.

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Saw a picture of the shooter carted off on a stretcher.

Looks like the two Marines worked him over a bit.

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

Funny.

I imagine there is a small glass panel to break to pull the emergency alarm and thus the injury.

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

Funny.

I imagine there is a small glass panel to break to pull the emergency alarm and thus the injury.

Yeah, it was described as a "light hand injury" in an article on CNN.com.

The contrast between the two Americans being wounded while subduing the terrorist gunman while the French guy hurt himself calling for help is what prompted my original post.

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