Moogalian recounts train attack in French magazine interview

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Man Credited as First to Stop Suspect in French Train Attack

PARIS (AP) — The first inkling Mark Moogalian had that something was amiss on a high-speed train traveling from Amsterdam to Paris was when he saw a man dragging his suitcase into the bathroom.

"I saw a young guy who looked strange, dragging a big, wheeled suitcase. It was unusual, strange," Moogalian said in an interview from his hospital bed published in Paris Match magazine on Wednesday.

Moogalian was shot and seriously wounded trying to stop a gunman armed with an assault rifle from moving through the train on Friday. The attacker was eventually overpowered by other passengers, including three American friends on vacation.

Noticing that the man seemed to be spending an unusually long time in the toilet, Moogalian went to investigate.

"I saw him come out of the toilet and another guy, who looked young, had grabbed him from behind and was trying to control him," Moogalian said in the magazine interview.

Photos of the hero passengers from the train attack:

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Moogalian recounts train attack in French magazine interview
French President Francois Hollande, second left, awards U.S. Airman Spencer Stone, center, while Alek Skarlatos a U.S. National Guardsman from Roseburg, Oregon, applauds at the Elysee Palace, Monday Aug.24, 2015 in Paris, France. Hollande pinned the Legion of Honor medal on U.S. Airman Spencer Stone, National Guardsman Alek Skarlatos, and their years-long friend Anthony Sadler, who subdued the gunman as he moved through the train with an assault rifle strapped to his bare chest. The British businessman, Chris Norman, also jumped into the fray. (AP Photo/Michel Euler, Pool)
French President Francois Hollande, right, awards with the Legion of Honor Anthony Sadler, a senior at Sacramento University in California as British businessman Chris Norman, left, looks on at the Elysee Palace, Monday Aug.24, 2015 in Paris, France. Hollande pinned the Legion of Honor medal on U.S. Airman Spencer Stone, National Guardsman Alek Skarlatos, and their years-long friend Anthony Sadler, who subdued the gunman as he moved through the train with an assault rifle strapped to his bare chest. The British businessman, Chris Norman, also jumped into the fray. (AP Photo/Michel Euler, Pool)
From left : French President, Francois Hollande, U.S. National Guardsman from Roseburg, Oregon, Alek Skarlatos, U.S. Ambassador to France Jane D. Hartley, U.S. Airman Spencer Stone and Anthony Sadler, a senior at Sacramento University in California, pose for photographers as they leave the Elysee Palace in Paris, France, after being awarded with the French Legion of Honor by French President, Francois Hollande, Monday, Aug. 24, 2015. French President Francois Hollande and a bevy of officials are presenting the Americans with the prestigious Legion of Honor on Monday. The three American travelers say they relied on gut instinct and a close bond forged over years of friendship as they took down a heavily armed man on a passenger train speeding through Belgium. (AP Photo/Kamil Zihnioglu)
Legion of Honor medals for the three Americans and the British businessman, Chris Norman are pictured on a cushion at the Elysee Palace, Monday Aug.24, 2015 in Paris, France. French President Francois Hollande pinned the Legion of Honor medal on U.S. Airman Spencer Stone, National Guardsman Alek Skarlatos, and their years-long friend Anthony Sadler, who subdued the gunman as he moved through the train with an assault rifle strapped to his bare chest. The British businessman, Chris Norman, also jumped into the fray. (AP Photo/Catherine Gaschka , Pool)
U.S. National Guardsman from Roseburg, Oregon, Alek Skarlatos, left, U.S. Airman Spencer Stone, 2nd left, and Anthony Sadler, right, a senior at Sacramento University in California, leave the Elysee Palace in Paris, France, with U.S. Ambassador to France Jane D. Hartley after being awarded with the French Legion of Honor by French President, Francois Hollande, Monday, Aug. 24, 2015. French President Francois Hollande and a bevy of officials are presenting the Americans with the prestigious Legion of Honor on Monday. The three American travelers say they relied on gut instinct and a close bond forged over years of friendship as they took down a heavily armed man on a passenger train speeding through Belgium. (AP Photo/Kamil Zihnioglu)
U.S. National Guardsman from Roseburg, Oregon, Alek Skarlatos , left, waves to the media as he leaves the Elysee Place in Paris, France, with U.S. Airman Spencer Stone, after being awarded with the French Legion of Honor by French President, Francois Hollande, Monday, Aug. 24, 2015. French President Francois Hollande and a bevy of officials are presenting the Americans with the prestigious Legion of Honor on Monday. The three American travelers say they relied on gut instinct and a close bond forged over years of friendship as they took down a heavily armed man on a passenger train speeding through Belgium. (AP Photo/Michel Euler)
Anthony Sadler, a senior at Sacramento University in California, left, U.S. National Guardsman from Roseburg, Oregon, Alek Skarlatos, right, and U.S. Airman Spencer Stone, second from left, pose for photographers with Jane D. Hartley, U.S. Ambassador to France, before a press conference held at the U.S. Ambassador's residence in Paris, France, Sunday, Aug. 23, 2015. Sadler, Skarlatos and Stone helped foil a potentially deadly attack when they subdued a man armed with an assault rifle and other weapons on board a high-speed train bound for Paris two days ago. The man was known to intelligence services in three countries and had ties to radical Islam, authorities said Sunday. (AP Photo/Francois Mori)
Anthony Sadler, a senior at Sacramento University in California, second right, U.S. National Guardsman from Roseburg, Oregon, Alek Skarlatos, right, U.S. Airman Spencer Stone, second from left, and U.S. Ambassador to France Jane D. Hartley take their seats before a press conference held at the US Ambassador's residence in Paris, France, Sunday, Aug. 23, 2015. Sadler, Skarlatos and Stone helped foil a potentially deadly attack when they subdued a man armed with an assault rifle and other weapons on board a high-speed train bound for Paris two days ago. The man was known to intelligence services in three countries and had ties to radical Islam, authorities said Sunday. (AP Photo/Francois Mori)
U.S. Airman Spencer Stone attends a press conference held at the US Ambassador's residence in Paris, France, Sunday, Aug. 23, 2015. Spencer Stone and two friends, Antony Sadler and Alek Skarlatos, helped foil a potentially deadly attack when they subdued a man armed with an assault rifle and other weapons on board a high-speed train bound for Paris two days ago. The man was known to intelligence services in three countries and had ties to radical Islam, authorities said Sunday. (AP Photo/Francois Mori)
U.S. Airman Spencer Stone, right, seated next to U.S. Ambassador to France Jane D. Hartley, answers questions during a press conference held at the U.S. Ambassador's residence in Paris, France, Sunday, Aug. 23, 2015. Stone and two friends, Antony Sadler and Alek Skarlatos, helped foil a potentially deadly attack when they subdued a man armed with an assault rifle and other weapons on board a high-speed train bound for Paris two days ago. The man was known to intelligence services in three countries and had ties to radical Islam, authorities said Sunday. (AP Photo/Francois Mori)
Anthony Sadler, a senior at Sacramento University in California attends a press conference held at the U.S. Ambassador's residence with Alek Skarlatos and U.S. Airman Spencer Stone, in Paris, France, Sunday, Aug. 23, 2015. Sadler, Skarlatos and Stone helped foil a potentially deadly attack when they subdued a man armed with an assault rifle and other weapons on board a high-speed train bound for Paris two days ago. The man was known to intelligence services in three countries and had ties to radical Islam, authorities said Sunday. (AP Photo/Francois Mori)
Alek Skarlatos attends a press conference held at the U.S. Ambassador's residence with Anthony Sadler, a senior at Sacramento University in California, and U.S. Airman Spencer Stone, in Paris, France, Sunday, Aug. 23, 2015. Sadler, Skarlatos and Stone helped foil a potentially deadly attack when they subdued a man armed with an assault rifle and other weapons on board a high-speed train bound for Paris two days ago. The man was known to intelligence services in three countries and had ties to radical Islam, authorities said Sunday. (AP Photo/Francois Mori)
(From L) US ambassador to France Jane Hartley, off-duty US servicemen Spencer Stone, Anthony Sadler and Alek Skarlatos smile during a press conference at the US embassy in Paris on August 23, 2015, two days after 25-year-old Moroccan Ayoub El-Khazzani opened fire on a Thalys train travelling from Amsterdam to Paris, injuring two people before being tackled by several passengers including off-duty American servicemen. AFP PHOTO / THOMAS SAMSON (Photo credit should read THOMAS SAMSON/AFP/Getty Images)
Off-duty US serviceman Alek Skarlatos looks on during a press conference at the US embassy in Paris on August 23, 2015, two days after 25-year-old Moroccan Ayoub El-Khazzani opened fire on a Thalys train travelling from Amsterdam to Paris, injuring two people before being tackled by several passengers including off-duty American servicemen. AFP PHOTO / THOMAS SAMSON (Photo credit should read THOMAS SAMSON/AFP/Getty Images)
Off-duty US servicemen Spencer Stone (R), Alek Skarlatos (2nd R) and US ambassador to France Jane Hartley (L) arrive to attend a press conference at the US embassy in Paris on August 23, 2015, two days after 25-year-old Moroccan Ayoub El-Khazzani opened fire on a Thalys train travelling from Amsterdam to Paris, injuring two people before being tackled by several passengers including off-duty American servicemen. AFP PHOTO / THOMAS SAMSON (Photo credit should read THOMAS SAMSON/AFP/Getty Images)
Off-duty US Air Force Spencer Stone (L), one of the men to overpower the gunman who opened fire with an assault rifle on a high-speed train, gestures as he leaves the hopistal of Lesquin, northern France on August 22, 2015. On August 21, 2015, a gunman opened fire on the train travelling from Amsterdam to Paris, injuring two people before being tackled by several passengers including off-duty American servicemen. Spencer Stone was first to the gunman who slashed him in the neck and almost sliced off his thumb with a box-cutter. (Photo by PHILIPPE HUGUEN/AFP/Getty Images)
Anthony Sadler (L), from Pittsburg, California, and Alek Skarlatos from Roseburg, Oregon, hold their medals as they sit in a restaurant after a brief ceremony in the town of Arras, northern France, on August 21, 2015. The American servicemen overpowered a gunman armed with a Kalashnikov who opened fire on a high-speed train travelling from Amsterdam to Paris on August 20, 2015. (Photo by AFP/Getty Images)
In this photo made early Saturday, Aug. 22, 2015, image obtained from the Facebook webpage of the mayor of Arras, Fredric Leturque, sits with passengers of the Thalys train who subdued a gunman as they display their medal after being awarded by the mayor of Arras, northern France, with left to right, Anthony Sadler, a senior at Sacramento State University, Alek Skarlatos, US National Guardsman from Roseburg, Oregon, Briton Chris Norman. A gunman opened fire on a high-speed train traveling from Amsterdam to Paris on Friday, wounding two people before three American and a Briton passengers subdued him, according to reports. American train passenger Air Force serviceman Spencer Stone was hospitalized with serious wounds after his part in tackling the gunman. (Arras City Hall via AP) 
In this image made from TV, Anthony Sadler, a senior at Sacramento State University, left, sits with Alek Skarlatos, US National Guardsman from Roseburg, Oregon, who both helped overpower high-speed train attacker, talk to the media early Saturday Aug. 22, 2015, in Arras, France. Three Americans and a Briton are together being hailed as heroes for tackling and disarming a gunman aboard a high-speed train traveling between Amsterdam and Paris Friday evening. (AP Photo /APTN) 
Off-duty US Air Force Spencer Stone (L), one of the men to overpower the gunman who opened fire with an assault rifle on a high-speed train, gestures as he leaves the hopistal of Lesquin, northern France on August 22, 2015. On August 21, 2015, a gunman opened fire on the train travelling from Amsterdam to Paris, injuring two people before being tackled by several passengers including off-duty American servicemen. Spencer Stone was first to the gunman who slashed him in the neck and almost sliced off his thumb with a box-cutter. (Photo by PHILIPPE HUGUEN/AFP/Getty Images)
This undated photo provided Saturday Aug. 22, 2015, by the U.S. Air Force showing Airman First Class Spencer Stone, of the 65th Air Base Group, Lajes Air Base, Azores, Portugal. A gunman opened fire with an automatic weapon aboard a high-speed train traveling from Amsterdam to Paris on Friday, wounding several people before being subdued by passengers, officials said. Air Force serviceman Spencer Stone moved to subdue the gunman and was seriously injured before going to administer first aid to a wounded passenger, and was hospitalized Saturday after being stabbed in the attack, though the Pentagon said the injury was not life-threatening. (U.S. Air Force via AP Photo)
In this photo made early Saturday, Aug. 22, 2015, image obtained from the Facebook webpage of the mayor of Arras, Fredric Leturque, passengers of the Thalys train who subdued a gunman sit together in Arras, northern France, with left to right, Anthony Sadler, a senior at Sacramento State University, Alek Skarlatos, US National Guardsman from Roseburg, Oregon, Briton Chris Norman. A gunman opened fire on a high-speed train traveling from Amsterdam to Paris on Friday, wounding two people before three American and a Briton passengers subdued him, according to reports. American train passenger Air Force serviceman Spencer Stone was hospitalized with serious wounds after his part in tackling the gunman. (Arras City Hall via AP) 
In this image made from TV, Alek Skarlatos, US National Guardsman from Roseburg, Oregon, and Briton Chris Norman, right, who both helped overpower high-speed train attacker, talk to the media early Saturday Aug. 22, 2015, in Arras, France. Three Americans and a Briton are being hailed as heroes for tackling and disarming a gunman aboard a high-speed train traveling between Amsterdam and Paris Friday evening. (AP Photo /APTN) 
Britain's Chris Norman speaks with the media at the police headquarters in Arras, northern France, Saturday, Aug. 22, 2015. A gunman prepared to open fire with an automatic weapon on a high-speed train traveling from Amsterdam to Paris Friday, wounding several people before being subdued by passengers, officials said. Norman, along with two others rushed to gunman and held him until police arrived. (AP Photo/Virginia Mayo)
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Telling his wife to get to safety, Moogalian rushed at the gunman and wrenched an AKM assault rifle from his grip.

"I've got the weapon!" he yelled, and just then a shot rang out.

"I felt a giant pain in the back. I fell down between the seats. I dropped the weapon as I fell. I didn't know he had a handgun," Moogalian said.

The 51-year-old American musician and teacher, who has lived in France for more than two decades, was seated across from his wife in Wagon 12 on the high-speed train that had pulled out of Amsterdam's main station just over two hours earlier.

His wife, Isabelle Risacher Moogalian, told Europe-1 radio on Tuesday that "when my husband collapsed, I saw across the seats. He looked at me and he said 'I'm hit, I'm hit.' He thought it was over and he was going to die." The bullet struck him in the back and exited through the neck.

Speaking on France 2 television, Risacher Moogalian also heaped praise on Spencer Stone, one of the three Americans who helped subdue the attacker.

As Stone administered life-saving first aid on her husband even while bleeding profusely from his own wounds, he "spoke to him like it was his friend," she said. "'Hey man, after this we're going to go have a beer. Where are you from? Virginia? I'm from California, don't worry it's going to be fine.'"

Moogalian has emerged as another hero in the high-speed train attack thwarted by a group of quick-thinking men. According to French President Francois Hollande, a Frenchman was the first to encounter the gunman as he left the toilet, alerting others in the area. That person, Hollande said, wished to remain anonymous.

Moogalian remained hospitalized Wednesday in the northern city of Lille, and his sister said his role in trying to stop what French authorities are calling a terror attack was in character.

"Mark is one of the most compassionate people I've ever known. He's a free spirit. When he sets his mind on what he wants to do, he just does it," his sister, Jacqueline Moogalian-Pittman, said from Austell, Georgia.

Lying on the floor of the train compartment, Moogalian watched as the attacker approached and picked up the rifle. "He's going to kill me, I thought," Moogalian said. Closing his eyes to play dead, he then heard two individuals rush past and tackle the gunman.

French authorities have charged a 26-year-old Moroccan suspect, Ayoub El-Khazzani, with terrorism offences in the attack.

Moogalian runs a language school from a houseboat on the outskirts of Paris, according to the school's website. Music and art are clearly his passions, as his personal website attests, with its range of sculpture, paintings, photos and downloads of music he performs in a duo with his wife. In the couple's biography, they describe themselves as "largely bicultural, bringing the best of both worlds."

Moogalian and the Frenchman will receive the Legion of Honor, as did Airman 1st Class Spencer Stone, U.S. Army Spc. Alek Skarlatos, their friend Anthony Sadler and British businessman Chris Norman.

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Associated Press writers Lori Hinnant in Paris, and Johnny Clark in Austell, Georgia contributed to this article.

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