One of the three brave Americans who took down a terrorist on a train to Paris earlier this year would likely have been in one of the classrooms at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Oregon during the Thursday massacre had it not been for the welcome home he received.
Alek Skarlatos, the 22-year-old U.S. Army National Guardsman who helped prevent an attack on a Paris-bound train in August, was busy rehearsing for his new role on 'Dancing With the Stars' when gunman Chris Harper-Mercer, 26, opened fire in Snyder Hall, killing nine and wounding at least seven in the span of a few minutes, he said on “Good Morning America.”
“I was enrolled in the Reserve Academy on Saturday and Tuesday and Thursday classes and if I didn’t get called for the ‘Dancing’ show I would have been on campus,” he said on the morning show from Roseburg.
Skarlatos rushed home to Oregon when he heard what happened, leaving the middle of a video shoot in Los Angeles to be with loved ones.
As far as he knows, none of Skarlatos' friends were among the victims, he said.
“My heart really goes out to the people who can’t say the same,” he said on the morning show.
Skarlatos, Airman 1st Class Spencer Stone and Anthony Sadler were awarded medals from the United States and France and met President Barack Obama after they courageously stepped in when a man started firing an automatic rifle on a Paris-bound train.
Given the chance, Skarlatos said he would have tried to do the same thing at the college. “I would have tried anyways," he said.