College Professor Continues Lecture During Shooting on Campus

A teacher at a Russian university where a mass shooting took place has defended his decision to continue with his lecture even as the gunman stalked the campus.

Police have detained 18-year-old Timur Bekmansurov, who is accused of killing at least six people and injuring dozens more in Monday's mass shooting at Perm State National Research University, located about 800 miles east of Moscow.

Russia's Investigative Committee said police shot and injured Bekmansurov and has opened a criminal murder case following the attack during which the suspect is said to have walked onto the campus in black tactical gear, entered a building and opened fire on other students. Many had to jump from second-story windows to escape.

But facing scrutiny is Professor Oleg Syromyatnikov, who continued his lesson on the history of Russian literature in the campus lecture hall on the fifth floor. Local media outlets reported that he did not allow students to get under their desks.

Officers outside Perm university
Police officers outside the Perm State National Research University campus, in Russia on September 20, 2021, following a shooting. A student opened fire killing at least six people, investigators said. Getty

The teacher defended his actions, telling 59.ru that when informed about the shooting by a student entering the class, he called his dean who "told me to continue my lesson."

"I closed the metal door of the lecture hall from the inside. It is impossible for it to be pierced with a shot," he told the outlet. "Would it have been better if there were panic among the students?"

He said that jumping out of the window could have posed more risk and left students with neck injuries. "I remained calm and continued my lecture," he added.

«Вы панику поднимаете. Вы меньше читайте сплетни всякие и прочее».

Аудиозапись той самой лекции во время шутинга в Пермском университете. Преподаватель истории Олег Сыромятников решил продолжать пару, когда стрелок напал на учебное заведение. Идиот pic.twitter.com/4uaUTbJCjm

— Oles Filonenko 🤬 (@taxfreelt) September 21, 2021

The university, which Newsweek has contacted for comment, is investigating Syromyatnikov's actions, although the institution's president, Vladimir Malanin said that the teacher "did everything he could."

"He decided to close a fairly solid door, and continuing the lecture, it seems to me, helped to prevent panic," Malanin told Kommersant.

However, the chairman of the Supreme Council of the Russian Union of Rescuers, Alexei Dudarev, criticized the teacher, saying: "In any emergency, you must carefully evacuate the building."

"The situation could have developed in a different way," he said, according to Komsomolskaya Pravda, suggesting that the gunman could have also had an improvised explosive device.

If there had been an explosion, he said, "where could people have gone from the fifth floor, from a locked lecture hall?"

Ivan Khozyajkin, from the law firm Akhmetov, Khozyaikin and Partners, defended Syromyatnikov, telling Kommersant: "If he really received the command not to leave the classroom and closed the door, then he did the right thing.

"In the end, all the students survived, none of them was hurt," he added.

Perm regional Governor Dmitry Makhonin said students will return to their classrooms on September 27, allowing time for police to finish their investigation, Radio Free Europe reported.

School shootings are relatively rare in Russia due to tight security at education facilities and strict rules on firearm purchases, although it is possible to register hunting rifles.

But, in May 2021, nine people were killed when a gunman opened fire in what was reported to be his old school in the central city of Kazan.