Briton on train attack: 'I'm not going to be the guy who dies sitting down'

Story highlights

  • Chris Norman: "If you're going to die, try to do something about it"
  • Three Americans, Briton awarded French Legion of Honor for their actions

(CNN)A British man who helped subdue an apparent would-be attacker on a train in France said Tuesday that he preferred to die trying over sitting and waiting for a near-certain death.

"My position was, I'm not going to be the guy who dies sitting down," Chris Norman told CNN's "New Day" on Tuesday. "If you're going to die, try to do something about it."
    Norman was among four people, including three Americans, who overpowered a man armed with a Kalashnikov automatic rifle Friday on a train from Amsterdam to Paris. Their actions are thought to have saved many lives.
    The gunman has been identified by police as Ayoub El Khazzani, a 25-year-old Moroccan now charged by French authorities with attempted murder, attempted mass murder and membership in a terrorist organization.
    For their actions, the four men who subdued El Khazzani were awarded the French Legion of Honor on Monday.
    A fifth man, French-American Mark Moogalian, who tried to take away the gunman's rifle before the other four got involved, will receive his own Legion of Honor when he recovers from his injuries.
    Norman said that, at the award ceremony, he and French President Francois Hollande had a conversation in which they discussed the importance of everyone participating in the fight against terrorism.
    Police cannot be everywhere, Norman said.
    "I think as citizens, we need to really move forward and we need to take some of the responsibility for it," he said, referring to the battle against terrorism. "Whether it is simply being more vigilant or by preparing yourself for action if ever you do find yourself in that situation.
    "I'm not an expert in the area but I do think we need to figure out how to harness the power of the citizens," he said.
    Norman told CNN's Chris Cuomo that he and the others who subdued the apparent would-be attacker, though they had never met, acted as a team during the take-down.
    He has had a chance since Sunday to talk with the others -- Anthony Sadler, Spencer Stone and Alek Skarlatos, three American friends on vacation in Europe -- about those critical events.
    "I think we've got a pretty strong bond," he said.