Students and faculty at the University of Central Florida are breathing a sigh of relief after narrowly avoiding what could have been a tragic campus massacre.
Police say James Seevakumaran, a student on the school's Orlando campus, had the weapons and the plans to inflict major damage. Seevakumaran was heavily-armed and had taken the first steps toward a deadly campus attack, when a roommate locked himself in a dormitory bathroom and called police, leading to an eventual suicide.
UCF sent a text message to alert students to a campus emergency when a dorm housing 500 students had been evacuated, after Seevakumaran was found dead.
"The cops had guns and were telling everyone to run and we got told to go to the union and stay as far away as possible," UCF student Julie says.
Police say the 30-year-old business major had pulled a fire alarm, hoping to send students into the hallways where they'd be easy targets. Then, he headed back to his room where he had a timeline for a massacre.
"We found some notes and some writings that indicated that this was a planned attack," UCF Police Chief Richard Beary explains. "This individual had laid out a timeline and had laid out some of what we feel were going to be his actions."
In his dorm room, police found a handgun, an assault weapon, hundreds of rounds of ammunition and a drum magazine like the one used in the theater shooting in Aurora, Colorado. School officials say Seevakumaran was no longer an active student and they'd been trying to get him out of the dorm. Classmates said he'd shown anti-social, but not violent tendencies, He took his own life after a roommate's 911 call messed up his timeline. His arsenal included explosives.
"The crime scene technician noticed what we later determined to be improvised explosive devices in a backpack, upon receiving that information, we immediately evacuated the building," Beary says.
Police said Seevakumaran got his weapons at an Orlando gun shop and had been purchasing ammunition since early February.