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.
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’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.