There are two more heroes in the Belgium train attack who have remained a mystery. Mark Moogalian, whose name was just released, and Damien A., who wants to remain anonymous, were the first two men to attack the gunman on the train speeding between Amsterdam and France. Moogalian’s name has just been released to the media. These two men will also receive Legion d’Honneur medals. Although they were not able to stop the gunman, they tried to wrestle him down and Moogalian was able to briefly take possession of the assault rifle.
Here’s what you need to know.
1. Damien A. First Confronted the Gunman in the Bathroom
Damien A., a 28-year-old banker from France, was the first person to encounter the gunman, The Telegraph reported. He has requested to media that he remain anonymous. Damien entered the bathroom on the Thalys train when he saw the gunman, Ayoub El-Khazzani, armed with a Kalashnikov assault rifle and wearing a cartridge belt. He was terrified, but threw himself at the gunman and tried to wrestle the rifle away from him. He lost balance and fell to the ground, and the gunman fled from him. Train staff saw the commotion and thought it was just a brawl between the two men, according to The Telegraph.
The following video is an animation that depicts what happened when the gunman was taken down. The first two people to confront the gunman in the animation are Damien A. and then Moogalian:
2. Moogalian Was Shot After Taking the Kalashnikov Assault Rifle Away From the Gunman
After his encounter with Damien, the gunman continued forward when he encountered Moogalian. Moogalian told his wife, Isabella Risacher, to hide behind her seat, and he confronted the gunman. He was able to wrestle the Kalashnikov away from El-Khazzani. Unfortunately, the gunman then shot him with a handgun and retrieved the rifle, The Telegraph reported. The bullet went through his lung, exited near his collarbone, and then shattered a nearby window. Moogalian is doing well but will need to stay in the hospital a few more days. Reports are conflicting, but Moogalian may have been the man who was shot in the neck that Stone helped save after he was also injured. Moogalian was airlifted to the University Hospital in Lille.
Moogalian is a 51-year-old professor at the Sorbonne, according to The Telegraph. He lives in Paris but is originally from Midlothian, Virginia. He and Risacher have their own musical group called “Secret Season,” which specializes in Franco-American alternative music. Moogalian plays the guitar, drums, trumpet, and musical saw. According to his website, Moogalian is also an author, a sculptor, a photographer, and a painter. He originally came to Europe in the 1990s seeking inspiration from the culture, according to his website.
3. After the Unsuccessful Attempt, Four Other Men Stopped the Attack
The video above shows the scene shortly after the gunman was subdued. After the first two men were unsuccessful in stopping the gunman, four other men sprang into action and were able to stop him. Spencer Stone, Anthony Sadler, Alek Skarlatos, and Chris Norman worked together to wrestle the gunman to the ground. Stone was injured in the process, with cuts to head and neck and his thumb almost being severed. A surgery successfully reattached his thumb. Despite all his injuries, Stone still helped a passenger who had been shot in the neck by compressing the passenger’s wound so he wouldn’t bleed out.
4. All Six Men Will Be Honored by France
The three Americans and Norman have already received medals of bravery from the local mayor. (Three of the men, except for Stone who was hospitalized, are pictured in the photo above receiving their medals.) All six men will also receive The Legion d’Honneur, France’s highest honor, from Francois Hollande, the president of France. The three Americans and Norman will be honored during a ceremony on Monday. Damien A. and Moogalian will be honored at a separate time. Moogalian is still in the hospital and Damien A. wishes to remain anonymous, The Telegraph reported.
5. The Gunman Was on Three Terrorist Watch Lists, But Has Insisted He Is Not a Terrorist
Ayoub El-Khazzani, the gunman, was on three European counterintelligence watch lists and had recently traveled to Syria. However, he has insisted that he’s not a terrorist and said he was simply hungry and planning to rob the passengers on the train, possibly holding some for ransom. Skarlatos doesn’t believe the claim and has said there’s no way that was his plan, since he had nine magazines on him, The Telegraph reported.