‘DWTS’ contestant Alek Skarlatos, who was a student at Umpqua Community College, where a gunman killed nine innocent people on Oct. 1, has rushed home to Oregon to be with his friends and family amid the shocking tragedy. Read his emotional statement on this devastating event.
Had he not taken the final spot on Season 21 of Dancing With The Stars, American hero Alek Skarlatos, 23, would have likely been on campus at Umpqua Community College when Chris Harper-Mercer, 26, opened fire on Oct. 1. Alek is, understandably, beyond devastated by this tragedy, and has released a statement, as he puts dancing on the back burner to head home to his community.
“I was enrolled as a student at Umpqua Community College prior to my 2014 deployment to Afghanistan,” he told Us Weekly in a statement. “While I was fortunate enough to be in the right place at the right time in August abroad a train bound for Paris, I only wish that the same could be said for today. 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.”
As we previously reported, Alek, understandably, left dancing rehearsal with his pro partner, Lindsay Arnold, upon hearing this sad news. He later took to Twitter to reveal that he was departing Los Angeles to be with the devastated Roseburg community. “Heading home to reoseburg tonight,” he wrote. “Everyone send thoughts and prayers to the families.”
Chris was identified as the shooter, and it was shockingly revealed that he may have even shared his plan on a message board the night before he opened fire. “Some of you guys are alright,” he allegedly wrote online. “Don’t go to school tomorrow if you are in the northwest.” He went from classroom to classroom on the campus firing shots, and wound up killing nine and injuring around seven. In one classroom, he forced students to stand up and state their religion before shooting one of his four guns, according to an eye witness.
In the end, Chris wound up in a shootout with police, and was finally pronounced dead. The 26-year-old was armed with three handguns and an AR-15 style long gun when cops took him down. As for Alek, it is still unknown whether or not he will return to the ballroom for Monday’s live DWTS show, but a dance would certainly be an amazing tribute to his grieving community.
Our thoughts remain with the victims and Roseburg community during this tragic time.
— Alyssa Norwin