"The student who planned a massacre at the University of Central Florida before he shot himself to death was going through a checklist for the day, that included “pull fire alarm,” then “give them hell,” police said.
Details were emerging Tuesday about James Oliver Seevakumaran, 30, described as a loner who reportedly avoided eye contact with his own roommate — until the day he stared him down while holding a gun.
Police say he pulled the fire alarm at his dormitory on Monday, causing a panic, then went back into his apartment and pointed the gun at the roommate. The roommate fled into a bathroom and dialed 911.
A 911 recording of the incident was released late Tuesday. In it the dispatcher asks the roommate, "Where is he at now?"
"I don’t know," the roommate says. "I just he … like … the fire alarm went off I opened the door to see what was going on and he’s there with like some sort of gun, like large assault gun. I don’t know if it’s a real gun I don’t know what it is. I just saw it I just slammed my door shut and locked it."
When campus police arrived, they found Seevakumaran dead in his bedroom, apparently from a self-inflicted gunshot wound. Police and investigators also found a .45-caliber semi-automatic pistol, a .22-caliber tactical rifle and a backpack with four homemade explosive devices. Two 110-round magazines were also found as well as more than a thousand rounds of ammunition.
At a news briefing on Tuesday, police offered new information on the case but some aspects remained a mystery. Police revealed that two packages were found that had been mailed to Seevakumaran but unopened that contained new ammunition clips and a sling for the tactical weapon.
Police also showed a video, taken by an officer wearing a camera, that showed an officer entering the dorm room and more officers quickly walking around the apartment as strobe lights flashed and the fire alarm blared. It shows them locating the body and seeing a weapon.
UCF Police Chief Richard Beary said there is nothing that has turned up yet to indicate that Seevakumaran had ties to any group or had engaged anyone as an accomplice.
"There is no motive," Beary said.
Seevakumaran, Beary said, had made out a timeline, a checklist, that indicated what he planned to do. It included going to an Orlando bar to drink as well as other items. Each item had been scratched off through the day. The last item scratched off before the suicide was "pull fire alarm,” Beary said. "Give them hell” was next.
These writings, Beary said, revealed a timeline of violence that the former business major planned to carry out at the school, a plan that only went awry when officers quickly showed up after the 911 call.
Seevakumaran was a business major who had been enrolled at UCF from the fall of 2010 to last fall, according to university officials. He had transferred to the university, which is in Orlando, from nearby Seminole State College, officials said. He grew up near St. Petersburg and was a 2001 graduate of Seminole High School.
An image taken from a police video recording shows University of Central Florida officers investigating reports of a man with a gun in a campus dorm.
According to The Tampa Tribune, Seevakumaran had lived with his parents and younger sister in the city of Seminole on a cul-de-sac of single-story homes built in the 1980s. The rare neighbor who remembered him recalled him as "quiet." In elementary school, he was honored for math proficiency, the newspaper reported.
At the University of Central Florida, Seevakumaran seemed to have had mounting financial problems. He had not paid his tuition or his housing bill for the spring semester, which began Jan. 7, but had not yet been evicted, university spokesman Grant Heston said.
Seevakumaran's family issued a statement through the university late Tuesday:
"The family of James Oliver Seevakumaran states that James was a loner and did not have a history of violence," it reads. "The family does not wish to make any further comments to the media, and they are requesting privacy during this difficult time."
Beary, speaking about the family, said "naturally, they are heartbroken."
An audio clip posted on the student news outlet KnightlyNews.com features a 3-minute interview said to be with Arabo “BK” Babkhani, the roommate who fled into the bathroom and called 911. Babkhani told UCF Knightly News that Seevakumaran seemed to have few family or friends, didn’t have visitors and didn’t talk on the phone with anyone.
Indeed, Babkhani said, Seevakumaran never made direct eye contact with him until their encounter Monday.
On Thanksgiving, Seevakumaran stayed in the dorm and cooked a full meal for himself, Babkhani said in the interview.
According to university officials, Seevakumaran had never sought or received counseling or psychological services from UCF.
A toxicology report was going to be conducted to determine whether drugs were in his system.
A news conference was planned at the university Tuesday afternoon to provide an update on the investigation."