On August 21st, Sacramento State senior Anthony Sadler helped apprehend a heavily armed gunman during a train ride from Amsterdam to Paris, tackling and pummeling the man with help from two friends, Airman First Class Spencer Stone and Oregon National Guardsman Alek Skarlatos. In the aftermath, Sadler, 23, has been regarded as a hero, earning praise from both Barack Obama and French President Francois Hollande (the latter awarding him the Legion of Honor medal). On Tuesday, Sadler humbly recounted the ordeal to Jimmy Fallon on The Tonight Show.
“I was actually asleep at the time,” says Sadler, who was on the train during a European trip with Stone and Skarlatos. “[There was] a gunshot, and glass starts breaking. I don’t really notice ’cause I’m asleep. A train employee sprints by us in the hallway, and that commotion kind of wakes me up. I look over at my friends, and they’re looking back, and they duck down. I’m like, ‘What are they looking at?’ I look back, and there’s the gunman coming in the train cocking an AK. I was like, ‘Is this real? Is somebody playing a joke?'”
Sadler described how he and his childhood friends attacked and disarmed the gunman, even cracking a smile while noting he got to “beat him down a little bit.” Sadler says the gunman, Moroccan Ayoub El-Khazzani, who was armed with an assault rifle and Luger pistol, even pulled out a box cutter during the scuffle, but the group was able to knock him unconscious and hogtie him.
French professor Mark Moogalian, 51, also aided in apprehending the gunman, despite being shot twice. Sadler says Stone helped save his life by sticking two fingers in his neck to stop the bleeding.
The three Americans almost didn’t catch this particular train. “We were having so much fun in Amsterdam, we actually almost stayed,” Sadler admits, as Fallon teases him about the famous activities of that city. “Because it’s beautiful there. Museums left and right.”
In related news, Skarlatos has signed on for the 21st season of Dancing With the Stars, joining a cast that includes Paula Deen, Gary Busey and Chaka Khan. “I think it’ll be fun,” the National Guard specialist told Good Morning America, as Mediaite reports. “I hope I learn a lot. I’ll need to if I’m going to stay on very long.”