International hero shares his message in Roanoke
Alek Skarlatos is credited with helping stop gunman on train in August 2015
ROANOKE, Va. – An international hero made a stop in Roanoke on Tuesday to share his story.
Alek Skarlatos is one of three Americans credited with helping stop a gunman on a train traveling from Amsterdam to Paris on Aug. 21, 2015.
Skarlatos and his friend Spencer Stone were riding the train, when a man armed with an AK-47 started firing. Instead of running away, they sprang into action.
"Spencer takes off, tackles him. Mind you, the guy is trying to shoot Spencer with the AK. Spencer tackles him, I catch up, (and) we just kind of beat on him for a second. Long story short, Spencer gets a chokehold in and I’m hitting him in the head with the AK until he passes out," Skarlatos said.
Skarlatos and his friends are credited with preventing what could have been a massacre. They were awarded France’s highest decoration, the Legion of Honour, and the U.S Army Soldier's Medal.
"It's incredibly humbling because again at the same time we could have just as easily died,” Skarlatos said.
Skarlatos shared his story with people at SafeSide Tactical in Roanoke Tuesday. He also shared a message.
"If you're ever in a situation where something bad is going on, pretty much anything, just to do something," Skarlatos said.
The business' co-owner echoes that sentiment.
"Your life is in your hands most of the time. And so that doesn't mean that you have to use a firearm or a knife or whatever but being able to identify a threat or a situation that you can either be a part of stopping or be a part of protecting yourself," said Mitchell Tyler, co-owner of SafeSide Tactical.
Now Skarlatos is encouraging others to learn how to protect themselves.
"If you don't have training, I would say get some sort of training in anything, even if it's basic level first aid," Skarlatos said.
A message from an international hero, whose actions saved the lives of hundreds.
"To me, I don't really feel like a hero because we were just doing what we had to do to survive," Skarlatos said.
Workers at SafeSide Tactical say they hope to attract more big names in the future.
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