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Student had 110-round drum magazines, plotted to 'give them hell'

March 19, 2013|By Matt Pearce
  • University of Central Florida students at a police line in Orlando.
University of Central Florida students at a police line in Orlando. (Red Huber / Orlando Sentinel )

A University of Central Florida student who was plotting an apparent massacre at his dorm managed to amass guns, explosives and hundreds of rounds of ammunition, with his roommates oblivious to his plans, police said Tuesday.

James Oliver Seevakumaran's body was found in his dorm room early Monday morning with a .45-caliber handgun and a .22-caliber tactical rifle that had a 110-round drum magazine attached to it, police said.

He also had a checklist of plotted actions leading up to a massacre that he never completed, police said.

Authorities are still investigating Seevakumara's actions before his suicide. And officials don't yet know why Seevakumaran, 30, fell apart.

They did say that he was well armed and largely unnoticed until the night he pulled a gun on his roommate, set off a fire alarm and then killed himself.

His roommates said he was a loner who had never posed a threat. Through the Sarasota County Sheriff's Department, Seevakumaran's family similarly described him as a loner with no history of violence. And police believe he acted alone in planning the dorm attack.

"All indications are, just like the rest of his life, he was alone," campus Police Chief Richard Beary said at a televised news conference Tuesday afternoon.

Seevakumaran was found with the two guns, two of the 110-round drum magazines and roughly 1,000 rounds of ammunition, Beary said. Police had also discovered four improvised explosive devices in Seevakumaran's room.

He apparently left no manifesto. Instead, police found a checklist that started with getting a drink at a campus bar, The Mad Hatter, which Seevakumaran had marked off. It also included a note to set off a fire alarm, a task Seevakumaran checked off and carried out shortly before his suicide.

The checklist concluded with "give them hell," Beary said. But "give them hell" was not marked off. Seevakumaran would fire only one round, a .45-caliber bullet into his own head, delivered in his dorm room.

Police found the .22-caliber rifle lying on the floor, near his body, as seen in video from an officer's body camera that police showed at the news conference.

Seevakumaran had failed to pick up a package waiting for him for several days at a university mailroom, whose contents police brought to the news conference: A sling and two more magazines for the rifle, plus a DVD called "The Laser's Edge" -- a tactical training video for laser sights. (The promotional trailer for the video, uploaded on YouTube, is below.)

Seevakumaran had attended UCF for two years but was no longer enrolled. He, however, had remained in the dorm, where officials were hoping to move him out.

He lived in a four-bedroom suite with roommates who apparently weren't his friends at the time he moved in, Beary said. They also didn't know Seevakumaran had started amassing weaponry in February.

Beary guessed Seevakumaran had spent about $900 or $1,000 on weapons and had purchased his guns on the Internet.

"He actually bought the guns on the Internet, then had to send them to a federal firearms dealer here in central Florida," Beary said. Seevakumaran then picked up the weapons from the dealer.

Florida law does not require permits for gun buyers, gun registration or licenses for owners,  according to the National Rifle Assn.

However, university policy does not allow students to carry or keep weapons on campus. 

Police were checking target ranges to see whether Seevakumaran had gone shooting before Monday's incident and were also examining his computer for more clues.

"Thus far we have not uncovered anything that would give us a motive or a rationale," Beary said.

High-capacity magazines -- such as the drum magazines found with Seevakumaran and those used in the Aurora, Colo., theater massacre in July -- have come under scrutiny by gun-control advocates and legislators, who argue the magazines have no legitimate civilian purpose.

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matt.pearce@latimes.com

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