Alek Skarlatos Reacts To Shooting At His Former Oregon College With An Emotional Statement — VIDEO
On Thursday, another tragic event swept the country when a gunman, reportedly identified as 26-year-old Chris Harper Mercy, shot and killed nine people, with another seven injured at Oregon's Umpqua Community College. The devastation is hitting home for many, including an American and international hero who stopped a potential terrorist attack on a Paris-bound train in August, and who is also currently a Dancing With the Stars contestant. Alek Skarlatos released a statement about the Oregon shooting to Us Weekly and his words are beyond emotional. The 22-year-old is deeply affected by the shooting because he was once a student at Umpqua. He said in his statement,
I was enrolled as a student at Umpqua Community College prior to my 2014 deployment to Afghanistan. While I was fortunate enough to be in the right place at the right time in August aboard a train bound for Paris, I only wish that the same could be said for today. I wish that I could have been there today to assist. I praise the first responders who were on the ground today in Roseburg as they undoubtedly were integral in saving numerous lives and putting a stop to what could have been more than tragic than it is. My heart and prayers go out to this community, my community, right now.
As you can see above, Skarlatos took to Twitter to express his thoughts. He also happened to be making an appearance on The Ellen DeGeneres Show Thursday, where he briefly discussed the shooting. He said,
I mean, it’s a fairly small community college and just the town in general, everybody knows each other, so with that many deceased, I mean everybody’s going to know at least one person. I mean I would have been there today if I didn’t agree to do [Dancing With the Stars]. I had classes picked out and everything.
TMZ also reports that as soon as Skarlatos got word about the shooting, he stopped his DWTS dance rehearsals with his partner Lindsay Arnold. Reportedly, he left the studio and started phoning his loved ones to make sure they were safe.