The Herald Bulletin

Afternoon Update

Cops, courts and fires

March 18, 2013

Police say Fla. college student plotted attack

ORLANDO, Fla. —  A college student with two guns, hundreds of rounds of ammunition and a backpack filled with explosives pulled a dorm fire alarm Monday in an apparent attempt to force other students out into the open so that he could slaughter them, authorities said. But he instead put a bullet in his head as police closed in.

James Oliver Seevakumaran, 30, was found dead in his dorm room at the 51,000-student Orlando campus of the University of Central Florida. No one else was hurt.

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

Some 500 students were evacuated from the building in the middle of the night, unaware how narrowly they had escaped what could have been another Virginia Tech-style bloodbath.

"It could have been a very bad day here for everybody. All things considered, I think we were very blessed here," Beary said. "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."

Police shed no light on a motive, but university spokesman Grant Heston said that before the episode, the school was in the process of removing Seevakumaran from the dormitory because he hadn't enrolled for the current semester. He had never been seen by university counselors and had no disciplinary problems with other students, Heston said.

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.

The episode began early Monday, just after midnight, when Seevakumaran pulled a gun on one of his roommates, who holed up in a bathroom and called police, Beary said. Around the same time, Seevakumaran pulled a fire alarm, apparently to get other students out in the open, the police chief said.

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