LOS ANGELES -- Alek Skarlatos, one of three Americans hailed as heroes for stopping a terrorist attack on a Paris-bound train in August, would have been at the Oregon college where a gunman killed nine people if Skarlatos hadn't been in Los Angeles to rehearse for ABC's "Dancing With the Stars."
Skarlatos, 22, told the network's "Good Morning America" program that he would have been attending a class at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Oregon, when the man opened fire on a writing class Thursday, ABC News reported (http://abcn.ws/1YUbsvv ) Friday.
Skarlatos, an specialist in the Oregon Army National Guard, received the Soldier's Medal, the Army's highest non-combat award, during a ceremony last month at the Pentagon. He was asked if he would have taken down the shooter if he had been in the classroom.
"I would have tried anyways," he said.
Skarlatos said he was with "Dancing" partner Lindsay Arnold when he received a text from a friend about the shooting. He said he then looked up the news on the Internet to confirm it.
"I just sat down for a second and then hid in the bathroom so the cameras couldn't see me," he said.
Skarlatos said he decided quickly to return to Roseburg to be with the community.
As far as he knows, none of his friends were among the victims.
"My heart really goes out to the people who can't say the same," he said.
Skarlatos and two friends, U.S. Air Force Airman Spencer Stone, 23, and Anthony Sadler, 23, received worldwide acclaim when they tackled the gunman aboard a train while vacationing in Europe. The heroics earned Skarlatos his stint on "Dancing With the Stars."
The next installment of the competition airs on Monday. If he misses that show he would be eliminated under the rules.