An American who had planned to act as a star witness at the trial in Paris against an Islamic state operator in a hospital on Thursday in the French capital and doubted whether he could still testify to his role in the dramatic capture of shooters averting a possible mass slaughter on board on a high-speed train.
Spencer Stone’s lawyer, Thibault de Montbrial, would not give details of what is bothering the former American pilot, citing medical integrity. He said Stone would not testify as planned on Thursday afternoon.
“I know he’s in the hospital. I do not know why. “I do not know how he is,” said de Montbrial.
“The only thing I’m sure of is that he is not in a state to testify today. We will regroup this evening to assess whether he can be heard tomorrow or afternoon.”
Stone, then 23, was among the passengers who helped kill the weapons Ayoub El Khazzani aboard Amsterdam for the Paris train in 2015.
Dero’s heroism during the August 21, 2015 drama inspired Clint Eastwood to direct a Hollywood replay: “15:17 to Paris.”
El Khazzani, a 31-year-old Moroccan, is facing trial with three suspected accomplices. He risks life in prison if convicted of terrorist murder.
El Khazzani boarded the train in Brussels armed with a Kalashnikov, nine clips with 30 rounds each, an automatic pistol and a cutter, according to investigators. Once on board the train, El Khazzani lingered in a toilet between cars and then came bare-chested with his weapons.
One of the witnesses scheduled to testify on Thursday afternoon is Mark Moogalian, a French-American who wrestled Kalashnikov outside El Khazzani – before being shot by a gun himself.
Stone has said he came out of a deep sleep when the gunman appeared. He and Alek Skarlatos, then a 22-year-old US citizen guard who recently returned from Afghanistan, took action and tackled the shooter.
Scarlatos was scheduled to testify on Friday.
Stone, whose hand was injured by the cutter, is also credited with rescuing Moogalian, whose throat sprayed blood.