One of three American men honored for taking down a radical Muslim gunman on a French train, was nearly present at yet another shooting attack. Alek Skarlatos was supposed to be in class at Umpqua Community College, but was instead doing an interview on “Ellen.”
Ten people were killed after a gunman shot up a classroom at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg on Thursday. Authorities say the male shooter — whom they have refused to name publicly — was killed in a shootout with police.
Alek Skarlatos, 23, an Oregon National Guardsman, and two of his friends were hailed as heroes for subduing a gunman on the train.
In a taped interview with Ellen DeGeneres on Thursday, Skarlatos said he was supposed to be in the building where Thursday’s shooting took place.
“I had classes in Snyder Hall,” said Skarlatos.”It’s a fairly small community college, the town in general, everybody knows each other. So with that many deceased, I mean everybody’s going to know at least one person.”
The names of the victims have not yet been released.
“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 was last on campus in spring 2014, before his deployment to Afghanistan.
In a statement, he said:
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 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 tragic than it is. My heart and prayers go out to this community, my community, right now.