Back in August, Alek Skarlatos, along with Spencer Stone, and Anthony Sadler took down Muslim jihadist Moroccan Sliman Hamzi as he opened fire on a train on its way from Belgium to France. However, there is a chilling detail that many were unaware of about Skarlatos. When he returned home, he left college, where he was studying to be a police officer, and became a contestant on “Dancing with the Stars.” The college he withdrew from was Umpqua Community College, the same college that saw a mass shooting this week that targeted Christians.
The withdrawal may well have saved his life.
Skarlatos appeared on “Ellen” and shared his story.
“I had classes in Snyder Hall,” he said as he sat beside professional dance partner Lindsay Arnold. “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 would have been there today if I didn’t agree to do this show,” he said. “I had classes picked out and everything.”
Skarlatos has been enrolled at Umpqua Community College before he was deployed to Afghanistan in 2014.
“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,” he said. “I wish that I could have been there today to assist.”
However, he offered high praise for those who sought to respond to the victims of the shooting.
“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.”
It has to be pretty surreal to have been involved in taking down a jihadist in August and then shortly over a month later realizing that another attack took place in the very school you would be attending if you had not withdrawn.
In either case, Mr. Skarlatos remains a hero, along with Stone and Sadler in saving many lives on the other side of the world.