News / USA

Florida Student Commits Suicide After Making Attack Plans

University of Central Florida police Chief Richard Beary, right, shows an example of the assault rifle, along with explosive devices, found in the dorm room of James Oliver Seevakumaran, Monday, Mar. 18, 2013, in Orlando, Fla.University of Central Florida police Chief Richard Beary, right, shows an example of the assault rifle, along with explosive devices, found in the dorm room of James Oliver Seevakumaran, Monday, Mar. 18, 2013, in Orlando, Fla.
x
University of Central Florida police Chief Richard Beary, right, shows an example of the assault rifle, along with explosive devices, found in the dorm room of James Oliver Seevakumaran, Monday, Mar. 18, 2013, in Orlando, Fla.
University of Central Florida police Chief Richard Beary, right, shows an example of the assault rifle, along with explosive devices, found in the dorm room of James Oliver Seevakumaran, Monday, Mar. 18, 2013, in Orlando, Fla.
TEXT SIZE - +
Reuters
A former student of the University of Central Florida shot and killed himself early on Monday in a dormitory apartment where police found guns, four bombs and writings suggesting he had been planning a campus attack, authorities said.
 
The dormitory was evacuated and classes at the Orlando school were canceled on Monday morning, but resumed at midday after the explosives were removed.
 
The university identified the shooter as James Oliver Seevakumaran, a 30-year-old business major who had been enrolled from fall 2010 through fall 2012.
 
Seevakumaran had not paid tuition or his housing bill for the spring semester, which began on Jan. 7, but had not yet been evicted, university spokesman Grant Heston said.
 
Campus police received a fire alarm at 12:20 a.m. on Monday and then a 911 emergency call “regarding a man with a gun,” at the school, which is one of the largest in the United States.
 
The shooter himself pulled the dormitory fire alarm, apparently to get students out of their rooms and into the open, then went to his apartment and pointed a gun at his roommate, campus Police Chief Richard Beary said.
 
The roommate ran into the bathroom, locked himself in and called 911, Beary said. Officers arrived three minutes after the fire alarm was pulled, rescued the roommate in the bathroom, and found the shooter in his bedroom, dead from a self-inflicted gunshot to the head, Beary said.
 
The dead man left writings and a timeline suggesting he had been planning an attack, which apparently was thwarted when his timeline was disrupted, Beary said.
 
He also left a handgun, a semi-automatic tactical rifle, hundreds of rounds of ammunition and four bombs, Beary said. He had bought the guns and ammunition from a local dealer, starting in February, the police chief said.
 
“It could have been a very bad day,” Beary said.
 
Seevakumaran had never been seen by university counselors or psychological services and had no misconduct records, university officials said.
 
His roommate told police that Seevakumaran was a loner and anti-social but had not seemed violent, Beary said.
 
Police sent students a text message at 2:09 a.m. to alert them that the residential Tower 1 dormitory, home to about 500 students, was being evacuated due to a “suspicious death.”
 
Another text alert at 2:46 a.m. reassured residents that there was no threat.
 
“It was clear at that point that there was no imminent threat from a live shooter, which is the first thing you worry about,” Heston said.
 
Residents, some wrapped in blankets or in sleepwear, were sent to another building on campus for food and counseling. Other dormitories were not evacuated.
 
Kathryn Wood, a 21-year-old junior from West Palm Beach, said she heard the fire alarm shortly after midnight, grabbed some money and went next door to a pizza restaurant to eat and wait out the situation.
 
A police officer, with what Wood described as the biggest gun she had ever seen, dashed into the restaurant and ordered everyone to leave immediately, she said. “It scared us all.”
 
Students were first sent a block away across the main campus loop road, then told to move back farther, to the student center, Wood said.
 
Sophomore Justin Love, 19, said he was about to fall asleep when he heard the fire alarm, but took the disturbance in stride.
 
“The way I look at it is, it didn't blow up,” Love said. “We're still here.”
 
The university has an enrollment of about 60,000 students, including those at satellite campuses and online.
 
A student, Laura Vickers, posted a message on the school's Facebook page, calling the incident a tragedy.
 
“I am sad to say a UCF Knight took their own life today in Tower 1,” Vickers wrote in a post that appeared around 8 a.m. "Despite the ... devices found in the student's room this loss was a tragedy.
 
“This week I encourage all UCF students to lend a helping hand to a roommate or friend or contact someone you haven't spoken to in awhile. Life is precious and it can end in the blink of an eye.”

You May Like

Multimedia Anti-Keystone XL Protests Continue

Demonstrators are worried about pipeline's effect on climate change, their traditional way of life, health and safety More

Thailand's Political Power Struggle Continues

Court gave Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra until May 2 to prepare her defense over abuse of power charges but uncertainty remains over election timing More

Malaysia Plane Search Tests Limits of Ocean Mapping Technology

Expert tells VOA existing equipment’s maximum operating depth is around 6 kilometers as operation continues on ocean bed for any trace of MH370 More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Messagei
X
Penelope Poulou
April 22, 2014 5:53 PM
Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Message

Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pro-Russian Separatists Plan 'Federalization Referendum' in Eastern Ukraine

Pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine say they plan to move forward next month with a referendum vote for greater autonomy, despite the Geneva agreement reached with Russia, the U.S. and Ukraine to end the political conflict. VOA's Brian Padden reports from the city of Donetsk in Eastern Ukraine.
Video

Video Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Church

On April 27, two popes - John the XXIII and John Paul II - will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky says the dual canonization is part of the current pope’s program to reconcile liberals and conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church.
Video

Video In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival

French filmmaker Luc Jacquet won worldwide acclaim for his 2005 Academy Award-winning documentary "March of the Penguins". Now Jacquet is back with a new film that takes movie-goers deep into the heart of a tropical rainforest - not only to celebrate its grandeur, but to make the case for its survival. VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Boston Marathon Bittersweet for Many Runners

Monday's running of the Boston Marathon was bittersweet for many of the 36,000 participants as they finished the run that was interrupted by a double bombing last year. Many gathered along the route paid respect to the four people killed as a result of two bombings near the finish line. VOA's Carolyn Presutti returned to Boston this year to follow two runners, forever changed because of the crimes.
Video

Video International Students Learn Film Production in World's Movie Capital

Hollywood - which is part of Los Angeles - is the movie capital of the world, and many aspiring filmmakers go there in hopes of breaking into the movie business. Mike O'Sullivan reports that regional universities are also a magnet for students who hope to become producers or directors.
Video

Video Pacific Rim Trade Deal Proves Elusive

With the U.S.-led war in Iraq ended and American military involvement in Afghanistan winding down, President Barack Obama has sought to pivot the country's foreign policy focus towards Asia. One aspect of that pivot is the negotiation of a free-trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations. But as Obama leaves this week on a trip to four Asian countries he has found it very difficult to complete the trade pact. VOA's Ken Bredemeier has more from Washington.
Video

Video Autistic Adults Face Housing, Job Challenges

Many parents of children with disabilities fear for the future of their adult child. It can be difficult to find services to help adults with disabilities - physical, mental or emotional - find work or live on their own. The mother of an autistic boy set up a foundation to advocate for the estimated 1.2 million American adults with autism, a developmental disorder that causes communication difficulties and often social difficulties. VOA's Faiza Elmasry reports.
AppleAndroid