Train Hero Was Almost at Scene of Oregon Shooting

He says he 'would have tried' to stop shooter
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Oct 2, 2015 6:50 PM CDT
Train Hero Was Almost at Scene of Oregon Shooting
Alek Skarlatos, left, would have been at Umpqua Community College during Thursday's mass shooting had he not been in Los Angeles training for "Dancing With the Stars."   (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

Alek Skarlatos, one of three Americans hailed as heroes for stopping a terrorist attack on a Paris-bound train in August, would have been attending class at Oregon's Umpqua Community College when a gunman killed nine people Thursday if he hadn't been in Los Angeles to rehearse for ABC's Dancing With the Stars, he tells Good Morning America. When the 22-year-old was asked if he would have taken down the shooter had he been there, he replied, "I would have tried anyways."

Skarlatos says he was with Dancing partner Lindsay Arnold when he received a text from a friend about the shooting. "I just sat down for a second and then hid in the bathroom so the cameras couldn't see me," he says. Skarlatos says he decided quickly to return to Roseburg to be with the community. As far as he knows, none of his friends are among the victims. "My heart really goes out to the people who can't say the same," he says. (Skarlatos and his friends made a fateful decision to change train cars on the day of the Paris attack.)

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