Armenian American Helped Stop French Train Attack

A 51-year-old Sorbonne professor, Armenian-American Mark Moogalian, has been identified by the UK’s the Telegraph daily as the first passenger to tackle gunman Ayoub El-Khazzani on Aug. 21 aboard the Amsterdam-Paris train.

Mark Moogalian (Photo: The Telegraph)
Mark Moogalian (Photo: The Telegraph)

During the high-speed train ride, Moogalian tackled El-Khazzani, who was armed with an AK-47 assault rifle. It is reported that he instinctively acted to protect his wife Isabella Risacher, and managed to take the assault rifle away from El-Khazzani. The assailant drew another gun and shot Moogalian in the neck, revealed the professor’s sister, who was also on the train.  Moogalian was quickly rushed to a hospital, where he is in serious but stable condition. It is reported that he may have lost some of the functionality of his left arm as a result of the attack.

According to the Telegraph, Moogalian, who is from Midlothian, Virginia, teaches English at Paris-Sorbonne University and holds dual French and American nationality.

Moogalian being rushed to the hospital following the attack (Photo: The Telegraph)
Moogalian being rushed to the hospital following the attack (Photo: The Telegraph)

Moogalian’s heroism, along with the actions of Americans Alek Skarlatos, Spencer Stone, and Anthony Sadler, and Briton Chris Norman, helped save many lives. Skarlatos, Stone, Sadler, and Norman were awarded the Legion d’Honneur, France’s highest decoration, by French President Francois Hollande. Hollande has announced that he will award Moogalian the Legion d’Honneur once he recuperates.


    • You didn’t hear about it because the man is Armenian-American-French.
      As in Armenian.
      If he was any other ethnicity, the MSM would keep publicizing his ethnicity 24 hrs for at least a week.
      There would be a TV movie in the works in short order.

      But the filthy Neocon Anti-Christian, Anti-Armenian MSM can’t bear publicizing anything good about Armenians.
      Fact is, despite the well deserved bravery of the other men who rushing in to help, if not for Mark Moogalian storming the Islamist terrorist _first_ and momentarily rendering his AK-47 ineffective, the terrorist could very well have hosed everyone on that train car.

      But, because he is Armenian, and not some other, you know, “special” ethnicity, his effort _must_ be minimized or ignored.
      The only news outlet that I know of which mention the first hero was a local US outlet, and only because the man was from there originally.

      [Ex-Midlothian man shot trying to subdue France train gunman]

    • They started reporting about him in the media today. He’s been in the hospital and not publicly accessible.

    • Can we not jump to conclusions so fast here?

      His story did not start coming out until a day afterwards and there is also another French national who tried to stop the gunman before Mark and his story is not being as publicized as much as Mark’s.

      Mark’s story has been getting out and media is covering it.

      How do you know coverage of Mark is being affected by him being Armenian?

      The BBC was the first place I saw Mark being mentioned and it was within 24 hours of the event.

      Besides it’s not clear most of the media covering Mark know his ethnic background to begin with.

    • It might not have been the BBC but the telegraph. Anyway here’s an article on Mark and a timeline of who tried to stop the gunman and when:

      “But, because he is Armenian, and not some other, you know, “special” ethnicity, his effort _must_ be minimized or ignored.”

      This is a complete assumption. How do you know this?

  1. We wish you a speedy recovery, Mark. You are one brave man and we are proud of you for putting your life on the line to save others.

  2. Bravo prof. Mookalian, God bless you and your Dear family members.
    Our heartfelt wish is speedy recovery.
    Regards with a BIG HUG.
    Zerdelian family

  3. I hope we can hear about this from foreign news media and newspapers.
    A real hero indeed!!!!

    • Because the media is busy talking about USC coach Sarkisian and his “bad behavior.” If it wasn’t for Armenian Weekly, I would have had NO idea about this Armenian hero Mark Moogalian. Like 99% of the people, we were led to believe 3 Americans stopped this massacre. Who knows what would have happened if Mr. Moogalian did not act. He is not the “fourth” hero, he is the first. I really, really, detest the media in the US when it comes to Armenians. Anything positive is ignored and anything negative is reported over and over again with emphasis on our race.

  4. This guy is a real hero who probably saved the lives of dozens of passengers on that train. Let’s hope he regains function of his arm.

  5. CNN mentioned a passenger tackled the gunman first before the three Americans ,but never revealed his name (now I can see why!). Bravo Mark Moogalian a true hot blooded Armenian.

  6. I think Mark is still in the hospital. He will be given the same medal as the 3 others once he recovers. I just sent him an email at
    I believe his family is proud of him as we all are. Send him an email.

  7. Please note that two of the five heroes identified by name so far are Armenian and Greek.

    This is potentially significant, as we and the Greeks, like no other peoples, have a memory of Islamic extremism, oppression and genocide. We know now by instinct that when an armed Moslem looks like he will start shooting innocent Christians, he will unless he is opposed and is beaten into unconsciousness or death. That is the unpleasant but necessary education 1896 in 1915 purchased for us.

    It will be interesting to know, should Professor Moogalian ever give an interview, if he, like the rest of us, ever daydreamed as a child about travelling back in time to protect the Martyrs of 1915. In reality, he protected his wife and all the others on board. I wonder if he has been ready to do this ever since he was an infant, as I think so many survivor children have.

  8. correction to my sentence:”This is potentially significant, as we and the Greeks, like no other peoples, have a memory of Islamic extremism, oppression and genocide.”

    I should have said that “This is potentially significant, as we and the Greeks, along with the Assyrians, like no other peoples, have a memory of Islamic extremism, oppression and genocide.”

  9. God Bless you Mark Moogalian and I wish a speedy recovery for you. I am proud that you are an American Armenian and that should have been recognized. You are a hero in my eyes, as I am also an American Armenian. Again Bless you and be well.

  10. Mark Magoolian is recovering at present.After he gets out of the hospital, the French president is inviting him for a dinner and will give him also the French legion of honor as he did to the others.

  11. This exclusion of Mr Moogalian from the limelight has an uncanny resemblance to Raymond damadian not receiving the Nobel prize even though he was the first person to come up with the concept of Mri scanning and put the patent in first. Mansfield and Paul C Lauterber only built on his concepts. The same pattern repeats itself here. They could have easily named Moogalian from the offset but they didn’t he was just a stepping stone for 3 Europeans to take the spoils.

  12. {This is a complete assumption. How do you know this?}


    Read the comments of all other posters in this thread.
    As expected, you are the only one who objected to my assessment of this issue.
    We are shocked, shocked.
    How do I know ? I know, I know.
    And besides, I keep myself informed, and have an inquiring mind.
    That’s how I know.


    I am not like you: I freely admit being an extreme Armenophile.
    I have an extreme bias for things Armenian.
    I have an extreme bias for Armenians.
    I have an extreme bias for RoA.
    I have an extreme bias for NKR.
    And if I could figure out a way to go beyond the rung of ‘extreme’, I would (I am working on it).
    Clear ?

    You, Random Armenian, on the other hand,……….
    So as to eliminate any hints of personal bias on my part, I will refrain from personally commenting on your biases and loyalties: instead will paste some observations by two of my compatriots (by their leave):

    {Random….As for your posts and the pattern I am noticing: somehow, it seems that you are eager to place Armenian issues to the highest most impeccable standards with no wiggle room at all, but don’t display the same passion, in fact you are absent altogether, when it comes to questionable and sometimes even blatant lies by others who post regarding their own ethnicities and cultures. Take for example your question in the other thread, “what do you mean by western values?”, it has dawned on me, what ‘Armenian’ who knows anything about being Armenian at all or who has grown up as one, would ask such an odd question? And when it is answered effectively, proceeds to change the subject by going off on a tangent. It just doesn’t make sense to me, and I doubt your claimed sincerity here, and I think your posts are disingenuous with suspicious motives behind them. But of course, this is just my opinion and not Lemkin’s.} (Hagop D // June 20, 2014 at 1:08 pm //)

    {I came to realize, beginning from the long thread on Lemkin, that I interpret your posts, or the absence thereof, rather correctly. These posts, or, again, the absence thereof on selected issues, suggest that you either have ulterior motives or that you may be random but not necessarily Armenian. If either or both of these suspicions is correct, then, you’re right, it is our problem to confront mind-tilting and hidden agendas on these pages.} (john // August 18, 2015 at 2:47 pm //)

    • “How do I know ? I know, I know.”

      Not a good way to convince someone, but ok. If you know you know. But it’s a gut feeling and no hard facts that Mark’s story did not immediately get out because of an anti-Armenian bias or agenda.

      My issue was that people here are jumping to conclusions without evidence of any anti-Armenian slight in this particular story. It was a chaotic event where information was coming out in bits and pieces and sometimes in contradiction. There could have been other reasons why Mark’s story did not come out as fast as the others’.

      Mark was almost killed by his wound and taken directly to the hospital (one of the soldiers saved his life by closing his wound by hand). The other 4 individuals were freely accessible to the media unlike Mark. But Mark was identified within 24 hours and his story started to be told as well. The media was getting the info from his relatives instead of directly from Mark.

      NBC even interviewed Mark’s wife on tv.

      So I’m not seeing some anti-Armenian bias going on in this particular story. Unless there is some hard evidence, it’s silly to jump to conclusions.

    • Notice how he has posted 7 or so comments on here all refuting any anti-arm claims and he aims to subvert any discussion among the topic. lee Rigby who was beheaded in the UK was immediately named as such and it didn’t take the UK media outlets 3 days to identify him as is the case here. The victims of Elliot Rogers were also immediately named as well as the ones in the Virginia Tech massacre. Thank you Avery for combating this filth but we need to bring in real life case studies as well in order to expose these lies. Once again thank you.

    • Greg,

      There is no hard evidence that Mark was being ignored early on because he’s Armenian. Some people are assuming that that was the reason. If we keep jumping up and down and complaining about anti-Armenian bias in cases when there is no clear evidence for it, then people will start to dismiss us and not take us seriously for the real cases where it matters.

      Each of the cases you mentioned, including this train attack are chaotic events, which can unfold differently. Typically the reporting on such events are not always accurate in the beginning either.

    • {“If we keep jumping up and down…”}

      The Lone Ranger and Tonto find themselves surrounded by hostile Indians. The Ranger asks Tonto: “What are we going to do, Tonto?”

      To which Tonto replies: “What do you mean we, white man”.

      “We” keep jumping up and down ?
      Who do you mean by “we” Random ?

    • “Who do you mean by “we” Random ?”

      You’re right. You were the one jumping up and down calling anti-Armenian on something that was not clear if it was anti-Armenian. There was no we.

  13. i wish him full recovery and hope that all the world recognize his bravery and he deserve to be recognize as a world hero he not only the legion dhonneur also the Nobel price

  14. Սիրելի Մարկ, Cher Mark, Isabelle et famille
    Nous sommes très fiers de ton acte de bravoure.
    Tu as prouvé que “pour les âmes bien nées, la valeur n’a rien avoir avec le nombre des années”
    Nous t’invitons à venir chez toi (chez nous) en Arménie, where you’ll have a Hero’s welcome.
    We shall pray for your quick and complete recovery at the Spitakavor church on top of the mountain behind our house in Yeghegnadzor.
    Քեզ համար աղոթելով, դարցյալ ապրիս և լաւ ապրիս:
    Antoine S. Terjanian
    Went there to move mountains, one pebble at a time
    To read my letters from Armenia, click

  15. So, Random Armenian, what are the big wigs , such as, Washington Post, the New York Times, L.A. Times and WSJ have to say about it?


  17. Random subverter- you might as well say

    “There is no hard evidence that Armenian Genocide was being ignored early on because they are Armenian. Some people are assuming that that was the reason. If we keep jumping up and down and complaining about anti-Armenian bias in cases when there is no clear evidence for it, then people will start to dismiss us and not take us seriously for the real cases where it matters.

    Each of the cases you mentioned, including this abduction of Armenian orphans and women of Van are chaotic events, which can unfold differently. Typically the reporting on such events are not always accurate in the beginning either and lots of Turks also died”. Avery, Jay and Greg are Armenians and we have earned the employment of the plural personal pronoun of “we” from the authenticity of our statements and our frequent use of case studies in order to highlight the hypocrisy involved when it comes to the treatment of the Armenian people. The Jews killed in the Copenhagen shooting were immediately named and the Muslim man that saved Jews in the Paris shooting was also named but not mark. You are “you” and will always remain so. Thanks for the support Avery-jay you have injected much needed sarcasm into this debate as well- I thank you both- I know some people would say ignore this Turkish commentator, but experience has taught me that exposure and refuting fake claims are better than letting these things go unnoticed, as some impressionable armos might believe what this snake in the grass is saying.

    • There is hard evidence for the Armenian Genocide and there has always been evidence for it. Not only that, but the AG was a huge event over several years. Not a limited action like the train attack that was over as soon as it began.

      Your analogy with the Armenian Genocide not only wrong but insulting.

      The idea that Mark’s name did not immediately come out until later, having to do with him being Armenian, is simply an assumption. Unless evidence comes out showing that’s the case, one can’t make the claim.

    • Look, if you go to an non-Armenian saying Mark was ignored or left out because he’s Armenian, they will rightly point out that you have not made the connection because of a lack of evidence. I see this as a case of the boy who cried wolf. If we complain all the time over things which we can’t back up with evidence, then it’ll be harder to be taken seriously over real issues of discrimination.

      Also, I’m not going to get upset over this if it’s not clear that there was anti-Armenian discrimination. There are plenty of well established anti-Armenian crap going around to be dealing with.

      Besides how many people knew he was Armenian or not? As far as I know, neither Mark nor his wife revealed his Armenian background.

      Note that once Mark’s identity was revealed, he got quite a bit of media attention along with the others involved in dealing with the attacker.

  18. Such a tragedy. I hope he recovers soon. It’s even more tragic that he hasn’t got the recognition he deserves unlike the other three even though he took the greatest hit. If his surname was a smith or Jones perhaps the scenario might have been different.

  19. {“ You’re right. You were the one jumping up and down calling anti-Armenian on something that was not clear if it was anti-Armenian. There was no we.”}
    (Random Armenian // September 2, 2015 at 11:50 pm //)

    Clever retort, Random.
    But factually false.

    If you will re-read _all_ the posts in this thread, you will notice that there are several other posters who take the pro-Armenian position similar to mine.
    On the other hand, you are the _only_ poster taking an anti-Armenian position.
    Clear ?

    So sorry: no cigar this time either.
    But please keep trying.
    I am here every day, and twice on Sundays.
    And I am here to help.
    See you soon.
    Avery “the jumping up and down Jack”.

    • Disagreeing with you or even being critical of you or others here does not make someone anti-Armenian.

      I have a background and science and such people have a hard time accepting gut feelings or assumptions being passed around as fact or evidence. In this case, there is no hard evidence about anything anti-Armenian. Pointing that out is not being anti-Armenian. If we are to complain about such incidents then we need to do it with evidence. That’s all.

      We have been at the receiving end of discrimination (as well as acceptance) for over a century. Immigration quotas and Fresno banning sales of property to Armenians in the 1920s as two examples. So I can’t fault you or any Armenian for feeling that there could be some anti-Armenian feelings affecting the reporting of this train attack. But ultimately there just is not hard evidence for it.

      Not every slight is deliberate or intentional. It could also be from ignorance and stupidity. And there is a ton of it in the mainstream media.

  20. God bless his soul. He took the initiative in a desperate situation in a proactive manner leading to countless lives being spared. His family and loved ones must be very proud of him. It’s Armenians like this which the media fails to highlight and sticks to stories such as the alcohol problems of Steve Sarkisian or the Medicare fraud gang which was not monolithic/ethnic in any sense, but the stain sticked nevertheless. Meanwhile my utmost sympathies go out for this lion of a man.

  21. Mark Moogalian has been virtually forgotten while the pugilistic “American marine bros” still get all the accolades over a month later. Our society has an incredibly annoying and unfair way of tagging the biggest and loudest people in these situations as heroes while a refined gentleman like Dr. Moogalian is ignored. Most of the press releases about him aren’t even in English!!! Totally unfair.

  22. Man you are the real hero to take on terrorist himself no back up and his bravery alerted everyone,he deserves mor recognition than than at least over 2 of the big stars and gbe recognized in America like the others who are over the tv getting cars metting celebrities he should be on the vie

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