Stuck with 15 of his students on a third floor balcony of a campus building as gunmen came up the stairs, university director Mohammad Shakil urged Pakistani police arriving at the scene to toss him up a gun so he could shoot back.
"We were hiding ... but were unarmed," Shakil told Reuters, speaking after four Islamist militants attacked Bacha Khan University in Pakistan's troubled northwest on Wednesday, killing more than 20 people.
"I was worried about the students, and then one of the militants came after us," Shakil added. "After repeated requests, the police threw me a pistol and I fired some shots at the terrorists."
As more details of Wednesday's assault emerged, attention focused on at least two members of staff who took up arms to resist attackers bent on killing them and their students.
Some hailed them as heroes, as the country digested an attack which bore similarities to the massacre, in late 2014, of 134 pupils at an army-run school in Peshawar, about 30 km (19 miles) from where this week's violence occurred.