The Herald Bulletin

Afternoon Update

Breaking News

March 19, 2013

Police: Fla. college student plotted an attack

ORLANDO, Fla. — 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.

Police shed no light on a motive, but Heston said that the school had been in the process of removing Seevakumaran from the dormitory because he hadn't enrolled for the current semester. He had attended the university from 2010 through the fall semester.

Detectives found notes and other writings that indicated Seevakumaran had carefully planned an attack and "laid out a timeline of where he was going to be and what he was going to do," Beary said.

Police were first alerted when Seevakumaran pulled a gun on one of his roommates who called 911 and holed up in a bathroom, Beary said. Around the same time, Seevakumaran pulled a fire alarm, apparently to get other students out in the open, the police chief said.

Police officers responded to the dorm within three minutes of the first call.

"His timeline got off," Beary said. "We think the rapid response of law enforcement may have changed his ability to think quickly on his feet."

In his room, investigators found four makeshift explosive devices in a backpack, a .45-caliber handgun, a .22-caliber tactical rifle, and a couple hundred rounds of ammunition, police said. Beary said it appears his weapons and ammunition purchases began in February locally in Orlando.

Antonio Whitehead, 21, said he heard the fire alarm go off in the dorm and thought it was a routine event.

"All of a sudden, I felt the crowd move a little faster. And a police officer with a machine gun or something told everyone to start moving a lot faster," he said.

 

1
Text Only
Breaking News
  • news_malaysiaairlines.jpg Sub search for missing jet to be finished within a week

    A robotic submarine looking for the missing Malaysia Airlines jet is expected to finish searching a patch of the Indian Ocean seabed within a week after so far coming up empty, and the search area may be expanded after that, officials said Saturday.

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • news_bostonofficerslain.jpg MIT honors officer slain after Boston Marathon bombings

    Like many other youngsters, Sean Collier wanted to be a police officer. Unlike most, he brought that dream to life — and then died doing it, becoming a central character in the gripping hunt for the Boston Marathon bombing suspects.

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • news_eyewitness.jpg Eyewitness testimony no longer a gold standard

    The American legal system offers few moments as dramatic as an eyewitness to a crime pointing his finger across a crowded courtroom at a defendant. The problem is that decades of studies show eyewitness testimony is right only about half the time.

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • FEA - HB0121 - flu - 05 Second wave of milder flu hitting Northeast

    Months ago, the flu season seemed to be winding down. But health officials on Friday reported widespread flu-like illnesses in six states.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • NWS - HB0525 - marijuana - JM -pic (4).jpg Colorado deaths stoke worries about pot edibles

    A college student eats more than the recommended dose of a marijuana-laced cookie and jumps to his death from a hotel balcony. A husband with no history of violence is accused of shooting his wife in the head, possibly after eating pot-infused candy.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • news_skoreaferry.jpg Ferry captain arrested in South Korea disaster

    A prosecutor says the captain of the South Korean ferry that sank two days ago has been arrested.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • Clinton visit.jpg Documents: Clinton sought GOP support for health care

    Thousands of pages of documents from President Bill Clinton's White House affirm a longtime adage: The more things change, the more they stay the same.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • Student struggles to recount fatal truck-bus crash

    Most of the 911 calls from witnesses to last week's fiery truck-bus collision that killed 10 were matter of fact. Then there was the one from a passenger: With shrieks in the background, the student struggled to recount how a truck came roaring toward them.

    April 18, 2014

  • Magnitude-7.5 earthquake shakes Mexican capital

     A powerful, magnitude-7.5 earthquake shook central and southern Mexico on Friday. The U.S. Geological Survey said it was centered northwest of the Pacific resort of Acapulco, where many Mexicans are vacationing for the Easter holiday.

    April 18, 2014

  • Doomed ferry's sharp turn, slow evacuation probed

    The investigation into South Korea's ferry disaster focused on the sharp turn it took just before it began listing and on the possibility that a quicker evacuation order by the captain could have saved lives, officials said Friday, as rescuers struggled to find some 270 people still missing and feared dead.

    April 18, 2014

Featured Ads
More Resources from The Herald Bulletin
AP Video
Captain of Sunken SKorean Ferry Arrested Raw: Fire Destroys 3 N.J. Beachfront Homes Raw: Pope Presides Over Good Friday Mass Raw: Space X Launches to Space Station Superheroes Descend on Capitol Mall Man Charged in Kansas City Highway Shootings Obama Awards Navy Football Trophy Anti-semitic Leaflets Posted in Eastern Ukraine Raw: Magnitude-7.2 Earthquake Shakes Mexico City Ceremony at MIT Remembers One of Boston's Finest Raw: Students Hurt in Colo. School Bus Crash Raw: Church Tries for Record With Chalk Jesus Raw: Faithful Celebrate Good Friday Worldwide Deadly Avalanche Sweeps Slopes of Mount Everest Police Arrest Suspect in Highway Shootings Drought Concerns May Hurt Lake Tourism Vermont Goat Meat Gives Refugees Taste of Home Calif. Investigators Re-construct Fatal Bus Cras Mayor Rob Ford Launches Re-election Campaign Appellate Court Hears Okla. Gay Marriage Case
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Helium debate
Helium
Front page
Poll

What do you think of Anderson's decision to have an Independence Day parade and other festivities on July 3?

That's great!
Should be OK
What a waste of money!
     View Results