May 19, 2019

Off-duty US Servicemen Subdue Gunman on Paris-bound Train

france-trainOff-duty members of the U.S. military subdued a gunman “known to intelligence services” after he opened fire, injuring three aboard on a high-speed train en route to Paris from Amsterdam Friday.

Three U.S. servicemen were on board the train and overpowered the man when the train stopped in the northern French city of Arras, 115 miles north of Paris, French media reported. Some reports said the men were U.S. Marines but that could not be confirmed. 

Passengers on the train subdued the gunman and prevented further carnage, said Christophe Piednoel, spokesman for national railway operator SNCF. The train was then diverted to Arras, where police arrested the suspect, Piednoel said on French television i-Tele.

The suspect was arrested after the train stopped in Arras, 115 miles north of Paris, Interior Ministry spokesman Pierre-Henri Brandet said on French television BFM. Passengers were evacuated and police have secured the area.

The man was armed with an automatic rifle and a knife, Piednoel said.

The suspect is a 26-year-old Moroccan, Alliance police union official Sliman Hamzi said on French television i-Tele.

The victims were identified as an American, a Briton and a Frenchman. Earlier reports said two American service members were among the injured. Two of the victims were in critical condition, according to a statement from the office of President Francois Hollande.

“The situation is under control, the travelers are safe. The train stopped and the emergency services are on site,” Thalys, the train operator, tweeted.

The attack took place while the train was passing through Belgium, according to a statement from Hollande’s office. The statement said he spoke with Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel, and the two leaders pledged to cooperate closely on the investigation.

Two of the victims were considered to be seriously injured, the French state rail company SNCF said, according to French wire service AFP. Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve is on his way to the scene. Passengers were evacuated and police have secured the area.

The motivation for the attack is unknown, officials said. AFP cited French officials saying the suspect is “known to intelligence services.”

Investigators from France’s special anti-terror police are leading the investigation, a spokeswoman for the Paris prosecutor’s office said. / The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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