Three Sacramento Friends Praised for Stopping Terrorist Attack on European Train

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Three childhood friends from the Sacramento area on a European vacation sprung into action when a gunman attacked on board a high speed train to Paris.

Alek Skarlatos with the Oregon National Guard, Spencer Stone an EMT with the U.S. Air Force and Anthony Sadler a Sacramento State student are being recognized internationally and right here at home for their heroic actions.

Sacamento Train

(Photo Courtesy: Facebook)

The young men were on their way from Amsterdam to Paris on a train when shots were fired. The three made the decision to fight back.  Stone tackled the gunman, 26-year-old Moroccan Ayoub El-Khazzani, and his friends didn't leave his side, "While Spencer engaged him Alek and Anthony came right behind and assisted," said Tony Sadler.

Two were injured in the attack, including Stone who was slashed by a box cutter on his neck, arm and nearly lost his thumb. Family said they are expecting a full recovery after a successful surgery.  He was released from the hospital Saturday.

The three young men were able to disarm El-Khazzani before anyone else was hurt, "Without them immediately taking physical action it would have been a different result," said Stone's father, Brian.

Loved ones said they are not surprised by the actions the friends took, "Alek and Spencer are in the military, they're trained for this. This is what they do," said Heidi Hansen, Skarlatos' mother.

In a statement, Mayor Kevin Johnson said, "Anthony Sadler, Spencer Stone and Alek Skarlatos risked their own lives to save the lives of complete strangers. That is true heroism. I can not be prouder that these young men come from the Sacramento region. This community looks forward to giving them a heroes welcome when they return home."

Sadler, a senior at California State University, Sacramento, is being praised by university President Robert Nelsen, "We are proud to say Anthony Sadler is a member of the Hornet family. His efforts, along with those of his childhood friends, to save the train passengers in France from a terrorist attack are nothing short of heroic."

Family couldn't immediately say when the men will be home. Tony Sadler commented that they are cooperating with the investigation abroad and will stay at least until that is complete.

Stone's sister Kelly made her way to Paris to be with her brother.