Alek Skarlatos: 'Dancing With the Stars' Contestant and French Train Hero Attended Umpqua Community College, Where Mass Shooting Occurred

Kimberly RipleyLife

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Alek Skarlatos left Dancing With the Stars on Thursday to travel home to Oregon, where the mass shooting occurred at Umpqua Community College. Skarlatos, who along with U.S. Airman Spencer Stone and Anthony Sadler, helped stop a suspected terrorist who was armed with an AK-47 on a French train in August, is an Oregon National Guardsman.

Alek Skarlatos is also a former student at the campus where a gunman killed at least 10 people. He says he wishes he had been on campus to help.

“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,” he told FOX411 in a statement.

“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,” he added.

Alek Skarlatos was rehearsing for next week's competition on Dancing With the Stars when he learned of the shootings.

Just a few hours later, he left DWTS and headed home to Oregon to be with family members and friends.

Following this summer's averted catastrophe in France, Alek Skarlatos received the Legion of Honour award in that country, along with his cohorts.

Skarlatos has performed well so far during his time on Dancing With the Stars. Partnered with Lindsay Arnold, he has proven good on his feet in the ballroom--the same way he is during emergencies. He is no doubt helping comfort those who are frightened and grieving, back in his hometown.

While nothing has yet been said about how long Alek Skarlatos will remain away from DWTS, it's likely he will return in time to finish preparing for next week's competition.

Kimberly Ripley
Kimberly Ripley is a freelance writer and published author from Portsmouth, New Hampshire. A wife, mom of five and 'Nana' to Lilly and Aiden, she loves cooking for her big family and watching HGTV in her spare time. Kim is guilty of starting way more home design projects than she can finish. Visit her at Twitter and Facebook.