France train attack hero stabbed in California

8th October 2015, Comments 0 comments

One of three Americans who recently helped thwart a terror attack on a Paris-bound train was stabbed in his home state of California -- apparently after coming to a woman's rescue, authorities said Thursday.

The US Air Force confirmed that 23-year-old Airman Spencer Stone was stabbed in Sacramento and taken to a local hospital.

"He is in stable condition," spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Chris Karns told AFP.

Officer Traci Trapani, a spokeswoman for the Sacramento police department, told AFP that police received a call at 12:46 am Thursday about a person who had been stabbed outside a bar in the city's downtown area.

"The victim had sustained multiple stab wounds in his upper torso or upper body but he is in stable condition and is expected to survive," Trapani said, adding that the suspect had fled the scene.

She said alcohol was a factor in the fight.

Speaking at a news conference in Sacramento, Deputy Chief Ken Bernard said Stone was out on the town with a male friend and three women.

Police were seeking two Asian males in connection with the attack, he said.

- 'Woman harassed' -

A source close to the investigation told AFP that Stone was apparently trying to defend a woman being harassed by a group of men outside the bar when he got stabbed.

It was unclear if the woman was with Stone.

"A woman was being harassed and he got involved," the source, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said.

The source said several of those in Stone's group were drunk but it was unclear if he himself was inebriated.

Sacramento police tweeted that the assault was "not related to a terrorist act," seemingly ruling out a revenge attack over the train incident.

Just weeks ago, the town of Sacramento staged a parade in honor of the trio of friends whose actions stopped a massacre.

Stone suffered deep slash wounds as he helped to overpower a heavily-armed gunman, 25-year-old Moroccan Ayoub El Khazzani, in the train attack on August 21.

Armed with a pistol, an assault rifle and 270 rounds of ammunition, Khazzani is accused of seeking to massacre passengers on the Amsterdam-Paris train.

Stone was awarded the Legion of Honor, France's highest decoration, along with Army National Guard Specialist Alek Skarlatos and Anthony Sadler, a civilian, for their role in thwarting the attack.

The trio were also invited to the White House by President Barack Obama and Stone received a Purple Heart and Airman's Medal from the Pentagon.

Stone had just returned to work at Travis Air Force Base in California.

Skarlatos also had a near miss last week.

The 22-year-old had been due to attend the community college in Roseburg, Oregon where a gunman went on a rampage, killing nine people.

The only reason he was not on site, he says, was the attention he has been getting since the train attack.

Instead, he was in Los Angeles rehearsing for this season's "Dancing With the Stars," in which he has been invited to compete, when he heard of the shooting and rushed back to Roseburg where he is assigned to an infantry unit.

"If I didn't get called for 'Dancing' I would have been on campus," Skarlatos said.

"I mean, it's just absolutely insane to be in a situation like this, especially in my town, Roseburg," he said.

Skarlatos put out a message of support on Thursday in a Tweet that read: "Everybody send prayers out to the stone family today."


© 2015 AFP

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