Anthony Sadler, one of the French train heroes who disarmed a gunman in the August 22 attack, talked to Jimmy Fallon about how they almost missed the train.
If it wasn’t for Anthony Sadler and his longtime friends’, Oregon National Guardsman Aleksander Skarlatos’ and U.S. Airman Spencer Stone’s, quick thinking, many families may be mourning the loss of their loved ones. The three Americans, plus British citizen Chris Norman and French-American professor Mark Moogalian — who was the one who initially disarmed the suspect — received France’s highest honor, the Legion d’Honneur, from French President Francois Hollande for their heroic actions.
At first, the Americans were described as U.S. military. However, Anthony Sadler is just a regular, 23-year-old college student, who was having a great time in Amsterdam with his lifelong friends, Alek and Spencer. As a matter of fact, Sadler told Fallon on Monday’s The Tonight Show that they almost missed the train, but prophetically changed their plans to stay in the Netherlands longer.
“We were having so much fun in Amsterdam we actually almost stayed,” Sadler joked. But to the French train passengers it’s no joke and most fully believe that these five men saved their lives when the suspect, who was wielding an AK-47 that Moogalian took away, began firing.
Anthony Sadler gave a full account of how things happened on board the French train. He told Fallon he was sleeping when he was woken by the sound of a gunshot and breaking glass. Sadler, who doesn’t have any military training, jumped to help their friends who had tackled the suspect, identified as Moroccan national Ayoub El Khazzani.
“I fully expected a gunshot to go off before we got there, but it just never did. Thank God.
Spencer hopped on him. A few seconds later, me and Alek were there. And then we got to beat him down a little bit.”
This last comment elicited loud cheers and applause from the studio audience. A few have criticized Anthony Sadler and the rest of the heroes who thwarted the French train attack for roughing up the suspect. However, it is clear that their actions stopped bloodshed.
After the ordeal, Anthony Sadler called his dad to tell him he was okay and explained what had just happened on the train. The senior at California State University in Sacramento said his father didn’t believe what he was telling him. The young man received a hero’s welcome when he returned home.
[Photo by Laurent Viteur / Getty Images]