Armenian-American Mark Moogalian, the 51-year-old Sorbonne professor who was identified by the UK’s the Telegraph daily as the first passenger to tackle gunman Ayoub El-Khazzani on Aug. 21 aboard an Amsterdam-Paris train, was awarded the Legion d’Honneur, France’s highest honor for bravery, by French President Francois Hollande at the Élysée Palace on Sun., Sept. 13.
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’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 soon after the attack. Hollande had announced he would award Moogalian the Legion d’Honneur once he had recuperated.