SACRAMENTO, Calif. — U.S. airman Spencer Stone, hailed as a hero for helping to tackle a gunman on a French train in August, was stabbed and seriously wounded outside a bar in his hometown early Thursday in what police said was an alcohol-related fight that had nothing to do with terrorism.
Stone, 23, was stabbed repeatedly in the upper body while out with four friends and was taken to UC Davis Medical Center, authorities said. He was expected to pull through.
Police said two assailants fled in a car. No immediate arrests were made.
“This incident is not related to terrorism in any way,” Deputy Police Chief Ken Bernard said. “We know it’s not related to what occurred in France months ago.”
Bernard said the stabbing was “related to a nightclub incident” involving Stone’s crowd and another group of people. Bernard would not say what the fight was about and said there was no evidence Stone’s assailants knew who he was.
The deputy chief said he did not know whether Stone was drinking, but others in his group were.
In a statement, the hospital said Stone’s family “appreciates the outpouring of love and support” and requests privacy.
Over the summer, Stone and two of his childhood friends from Sacramento, National Guardsman Alek Skarlatos and college student Anthony Sadler, were vacationing in Europe when they thwarted a terror attack on a Paris-bound passenger train by taking down Ayoub El-Khazzani, a man with ties to radical Islam. He had boarded the train with a Kalashnikov rifle, a pistol and a box cutter.
Stone, who is assigned to Travis Air Force Base in California, suffered a cut thumb and other injuries in stopping the gunman.
He is the second of the three Americans to be touched by violence since returning home. Last week, Skarlatos left rehearsals for TV’s “Dancing With the Stars” to rush back to his hometown of Roseburg, Oregon, after a gunman killed nine people at the community college Skarlatos had attended.
President Barack Obama met with the three Americans last month, praising them for their quick thinking and courage and calling them “the very best of America.” They were also awarded France’s highest honour by President Francois Hollande. The three appeared on late-night talk shows and received a parade in their hometown.
The stabbing happened in a busy area of central Sacramento ringed with bars and restaurants that is a popular nightlife destination for young adults and is generally considered safe.