The incident happened on the high-speed Thalys service near Arras. A 26-year-old Moroccan man was arrested at Arras station. One of the Americans said they took an AK-47 assault rifle and a handgun from the attacker as they saw him walk down the aisle of the train. They then put him in a chokehold until he was unconscious. Two of the American men who overpowered the gunman, Spencer Stone and Alek Skarlatos, are members of the Air Force and the National Guard respectively. They were travelling on the train from Amsterdam to Paris on Friday evening with a childhood friend, Anthony Sadler, who also helped restrain the attacker. “Spencer got to the guy first and grabbed the guy by the neck,” Mr Skarlatos told Sky News. “I grabbed the handgun, got that away from the guy and threw it. Then I grabbed the AK-47, which was at his feet, and started muzzle-bumping him in the head with it. “Everybody just started beating the guy while Spencer held the chokehold until he went unconscious. “When he checked the AK-47, Mr Skarlotos said it had jammed and would not have been able to fire. The cartridge for the handgun had also been dropped, he said. French authorities said three people were injured, two of them seriously – one with a gunshot wound, the other a knife wound.
The passengers included French actor Jean-Hugues Anglade, the star of Betty Blue and Nikita, who was lightly wounded breaking glass to sound the alarm.
The American men and Mr Norman were awarded medals for bravery by authorities in Arras.
US President Barack Obama was among those to praise those who took action.
“The president expressed his profound gratitude for the courage and quick thinking of several passengers, including US service members, who selflessly subdued the attacker,” the White House said in a statement. “It is clear that their heroic actions may have prevented a far worse tragedy. “French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve said the passengers were “particularly courageous and showed great bravery in very difficult circumstances”, adding: “Without their composure we could have been confronted with a terrible incident. “Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel called the incident a “terrorist attack”. French media said the arrested man was known to the intelligence services but he has so far refused to talk to police in Arras.