Liviu Librescu: In Memoriam
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UPDATE: Below is the text from a tribute page to Prof. Librescu on Facebook:
Liviu Librescu was killed as he blocked his classroom door to keep the gunman out as students escaped out the window.
"When he heard the gunfire, he blocked the entrance and got shot through the door," his daughter-in-law Ayala Schmulevich said.
"He realized he had to save the students," she said. "That was the kind of man he was."
The hero educator was beginning a class on solid mechanics when all hell broke loose on the second floor of Norris Hall.
First came the terrifying gunshots from a classroom next door.
"It wasn't like an automatic weapon, but it was a steady 'pow,'
'pow,' 'pow,' 'pow,'" student Richard Mallalieu, 23, told The
Washington Post. "We didn't know what to do at first."
The students in the class dropped to the floor and started
overturning desks to hide behind as about a dozen shots rang out, he
Then the gunfire started coming closer. Librescu, 77, fearlessly
braced himself against the door, holding it shut against the gunman in
the hall, while students darted to the windows of the second-floor
classroom to escape the slaughter, survivors said.
Mallalieu and most of his classmates hung out of the windows and
dropped about 10 feet to bushes and grass below - but Librescu stayed
behind to hold off the crazed gunman.
Alec Calhoun, 20, said the last thing he saw before he jumped from
the window was Librescu, blocking the door against the madman in the
He died trying to protect the students.
Librescu taught aerospace and ocean engineering but focused much of his time on research.
He leaves a wife and two sons. His family is planning to bury him in Israel.