‘Dancing With The Stars’ may have possibly saved Alek Skarlatos’ life. The Season 21 contestant was signed up for classes at the Oregon college where Chris Harper-Mercer opened fire on Oct. 1, but put school on the back burner when he decided to take part in the ABC show. Watch him emotionally discuss the tragedy here.
Alek Skarlatos, 23, rushed home to his small Oregon community after learning nine were killed by a gunman at Umpqua Community College, the same school he attended before deploying to Afghanistan in 2014. In a new interview in Ellen DeGeneres, the Dancing With The Stars contestant even reveals he would have been in class on the UCC campus had he not signed up for the reality competition series. Wow.
“I had classes in Snyder Hall [the building where Chris Harper-Mercer first fired shots],” he said. “I mean, it’s a fairly small community college…the town in general, everybody knows each other. So if that many are deceased, everybody’s going to know at least one person. I would have been there today if I didn’t agree to do the show. I had classes picked out and everything.”
Alek is understandably devastated over this tragic story, and headed home to Oregon after his interview, rather than continuing dance rehearsal with his partner, Lindsay Arnold. “While I was fortunate enough to be in the right place at the right time in August aboard at rain bound for Paris, I only wish that the same could be said for today,” he said in a statement. “I wish that I could have been there 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 tragic than it is. My heart and prayers go out to this community, my community, right now.”
Indeed, the 23-year-old is correct regarding the heroic first responders — police engaged in a brave shootout with Harper-Mercer, and he was pronounced dead. Unfortunately, the damage could not be undone. Nine were killed after Chris’ violent massacre, with seven left injured. Our thoughts remain with the grieving Roseburg community during this tragic time.
HollywoodLifers, do you think Alek will return to dance on Monday’s show?
— Alyssa Norwin