Roommate of UCF Would-Be Gunman Speaks Out

By: CBS News Email
By: CBS News Email
A University of Central Florida drop-out planned an attack on campus but committed suicide in a dorm before carrying it out.

Photo: CBS Various police agencies are seen during an investigation at the University of Central Florida, Monday, March 18, 2013, in Orlando, Fla., after explosive devices were found by authorities investigating the apparent suicide of a drop-out college student in the dorm. At left, an undated photo of James Seevakumaran.

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The roommate who called police for help after a former University of Central Florida student pulled a gun on him said the 30-year-old was anti-social, but had no idea he could potentially be dangerous

James Oliver Seevakumaran, 30, killed himself before authorities got to him at his dorm room in Tower 1 Monday, where they found guns, explosives and a note that detailed a campus shooting.

Arabo "BK" Babakhani, a man identifying himself as Seevakumaran's roommate, told the student paper, the Knightly News, how he came face-to-face with the gunman and ran to call 911.

"I just thought - he kept to himself a lot. I don't know, I just thought he was a quiet, introverted person," he said. "The only time he made solid eye contact with me is when he pulled the gun on me."

Before he killed himself, Seevakumaran had pulled the fire alarm - a strategy, police said, to get students all in one place. Babakhani said a third student who lived with them was out of town in Baltimore, while the fourth evacuated the building as soon as he heard the fire alarm.

Babakhani told the paper that he went into the kitchen because he thought the fire alarm was triggered by something burning. As soon as he saw the gun, he ran into his room, crouching in front of a chest of drawers.

Before the incident, however, Babakhani said he had no reason to suspect James was violent. He never closed his door.

But he said there was always something weird about him.

"For Thanksgiving ... he didn't invite anyone," Babakhani said. "He just cooked a whole Thanksgiving meal for himself. He's got no friends, I don't even know if he's got any family. I've never heard him on a cell phone before."

Seevakumaran was a business major at the school. He wasn't enrolled for the Spring semester.

© 2013 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved.


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Updated 6:23 p.m. ET

ORLANDO, Florida

A University of Central Florida drop-out planned an attack on campus but committed suicide in a dorm before carrying it out, authorities said Monday.

Materials found in his dorm room made it appear that 30-year-old James Oliver Seevakumaran planned a wider attack, authorities said a news conference.

Seevakumaran pulled a gun on another student, who then called police, said University of Central Florida Police Chief Richard Beary. He then killed himself with a shot to the head moments later as police officers were responding to the 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."

UCF spokesman Grant Heston said the university was in the process of removing Seevakumaran from the dorm before Monday. Four makeshift explosive devices were found in a back pack, and Beary said he believes that Seevakumaran pulled a fire alarm in the dorm to get other students out in the open for an attack.

CBS affiliate WKMG reports that police found two guns in Seevakumaran's dorm room, including an American-Tech tactical .22 caliber rifle. They were traced back to an Orlando guns store. Police also found four improvised explosive devices and hundreds of rounds of ammo were, according to Julie Torres of Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

Seevakumaran's roommates told detectives that he had shown anti-social behavior but had never expressed any violent tendencies, Beary said.

CBS correspondent Mark Strassmann reports that Seevakumaran had no reported contact with campus counselors nor any conduct issues before the attack.

According to Florida records, his only adult arrest in the state was in 2006 for driving with a suspended license. He pleaded no contest. He was fined $105 and assigned court costs of $223.

University police were called to the Tower I building around 12:20 a.m. after a fire alarm went off. Around the same time, the an emergency services call came in about a man with a gun.

Investigators said they discovered two guns and the makeshift explosives in the room where Seevakumaran was found dead.

About 500 students were evacuated from the building and morning classes were canceled.

© 2013 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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