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US Hero in French Train Attack Stabbed in California

  • VOA News

FILE - U.S. serviceman Spencer Stone waves as he departs the Clinique Lille Sud, which specializes in hand injuries, in Lesquin, France, Aug. 22, 2015.

FILE - U.S. serviceman Spencer Stone waves as he departs the Clinique Lille Sud, which specializes in hand injuries, in Lesquin, France, Aug. 22, 2015.

Spencer Stone, one of three Americans who’d overpowered an armed terror suspect on a French train in August, is in stable condition after he was "repeatedly stabbed" Wednesday night in Sacramento, California, a U.S. Air Force official tells VOA.

Air Force public affairs officer Rose Richeson says the the Airman 1st Class, stationed at nearby Travis Air Force Base, was transported to a local hospital where he is still being treated.

Richeson said the incident is under investigation and that the Air Force is unclear at this point on whether the stabbing was done by one suspect or multiple suspects.

Stone had been stabbed in the torso during a fight near popular bars in the California capital’s downtown area, police told NBC affiliate KCRA. That station reported homicide detectives had been called to the scene.

French train incident

Stone, 25, and his two friends won acclaim for tackling and subduing Ayoub El-Khazzani after the Moroccan-born man – armed with an AK-47 and Luger pistol – opened fire on a French train as it sped through Belgium on August 21. It carried 554 people.

The man slashed at Stone with a box cutter, stabbing him in the neck and nearly severing his left thumb, which had to be reattached. Stone led the charge and was joined by National Guard specialist Alex Skarlatos and civilian Anthony Sadler. The three, who’d grown up together in Sacramento, were on vacation.

The suspect was taken into custody. French authorities have charged him with attempted murder, weapons possession and conspiracy.

"He seemed ready to fight to the end, and so were we," Stone said of the suspect, during a news conference from the U.S. Embassy in Paris in August.

The three friends were honored at a Pentagon ceremony September 17 at which Defense Secretary Ash Carter presented Stone with a Purple Heart military medal for his bravery. The Sacramento Bee reported the airman also would be promoted to staff sergeant, effective in November.

All three friends had been presented with France’s highest award, the Legion of Honor.

VOA Pentagon correspondent Carla Babb contributed to this report

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