ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — A University of Central Florida student who pulled a dorm fire alarm in the middle of the night had a more sinister plan than sending students scurrying out into the night, authorities said.
Campus police said Monday that 30-year-old James Oliver Seevakumaran — who shot himself in the head as officers arrived, before any other students were hurt — was armed with two guns, hundreds of rounds of ammunition, a backpack filled with explosives and a plan to attack other students as they fled the seven-story dorm where he lived.
His plans were thrown off by campus police officers' quick response to the fire alarm and a 911 call from Seevakumaran's roommate, who hid in a bathroom after Seevakumaran pointed a gun at him, UCF Police Chief Richard Beary said.
"It could have been a very bad day here for everybody. All things considered, I think we were very blessed here at the University of Central Florida," Beary said. "One shooting is bad enough. Multiples would have been unthinkable. So, anybody armed with this type of weapon and ammunition could have hurt a lot of people here, particularly in a crowded area as people were evacuating."
Some 500 students were evacuated from the building just after midnight, unaware how narrowly they had escaped what could have been another Virginia Tech-style bloodbath. Morning classes were canceled, but most campus operations resumed around noon.
"The kid's bringing huge explosives in his room. So yeah, it could have been a lot worse," 19-year-old UCF sophomore Anthony Giamanco said shortly after arriving on campus Monday morning.
Roommates told detectives that while Seevakumaran showed some anti-social tendencies, he had never expressed any violent behavior. The business major, who held a job at an on-campus sushi restaurant, had never been seen by university counselors and had no disciplinary problems with other students, said university spokesman Grant Heston.