The Slatest

American Expat Artist Will Also Receive Legion of Honor for Bravery During France Train Attack

Mark Moogalian is taken for medical treatment after the train attack last Friday in northern France.


Initial reports on the thwarted attack last Friday on an Amsterdam-to-Paris train highlighted the actions of three Americans, two of them military service members, who helped subdue the would-be mass shooter alongside a British man named Chris Norman. On Monday several outlets began to report details about the role of a fourth American, a 51-year-old expat artist named Mark Moogalian, in responding to the incident. Moogalian reportedly confronted gunman Ayoub el-Khazzani when el-Khazzani emerged from a bathroom in which he’d seemingly prepared to begin an attack. From CNN:

Before the other men got involved, Moogalian tried to take away the suspect’s rifle but the man shot Moogalian in the neck with a Luger pistol, his wife, Isabelle Risacher, told France’s Europe 1 radio … Risacher told France’s Europe 1 radio her husband was quickly suspicious of the suspect because he entered the toilet with his suitcase and stayed inside a long time.

“Sometime later, the man came out and it is there (her husband) saw that he had a weapon,” she said. “My husband ran to the man to remove his weapon.”

Moogalian remains hospitalized in the city of Lille for treatment of his neck wound—which was also treated by U.S. Airman Spencer Stone, who himself was injured, aboard the train—and broken ribs. Moogalian will receive a French Legion of Honor medal once he recovers.

A sixth individual, a Frenchman who has chosen to remain anonymous, reportedly helped alert other passengers to danger after encountering el-Khazzani outside the bathroom.  

Moogalian, a native of Virginia, is said to have lived in France for more than 20 years. He runs a language school that teaches English and French and documents a number of artistic and musical pursuits on his personal website.