UCF seeks motive in planned campus attack

Campus police say they're focusing on James Seevakumaran's computer trail

Published On: Mar 21 2013 07:19:49 AM EDT
ORLANDO, Fla. -

Authorities are still searching for a motive in the planned attack at the University of Central Florida, hours after video was released that shows officers storming the former student's dormitory room where he was found dead.

UCF police told WKMG-TV they're focusing on the computer trail left behind by the would-be gunman, 30-year-old James Oliver Seevakumaran, a UCF business major who wasn't enrolled in the spring semester. UCF was in the process of evicting Seevakumaran when the campus attack was plotted.

"Trying to come up with a motive would be absolute speculation and we want to make sure we talk on a factual basis," said UCF Police Chief Richard Beary. "We just want to make sure that there's nobody else involved, that there's no active threat somewhere else. So we're doing a computer analysis to make sure that everything we have shows he was by himself and this was the location."

Also on Wednesday, officials released a picture of the rifle found in Seevakumaran's dorm room, as well as the a floorplan of his dorm room.

Beary said officers are looking to the Internet to see if they can learn anything else about Seevakumaran's plot, which was found scribbled on notebook paper in a timeline format. Police released the note on Tuesday, in which Seevakumaran crossed off each item on the list as it was completed, with the last thing on the list being "give them hell."

The last thing Seevakumaran crossed off before killing himself was set off fire alarm along with going to a bar and drinking, Beary said. Beary says authorities confirmed he went to the bar and drank.

Another item on the list not crossed off was "posting to YouTube." Beary says that was a "red flag" and officers are searching the networks to see what Seevakumaran was wanting to post to YouTube.

Seevakumaran's roommate, Arabo Babakhani, gave his insight into possibly why Seeveakumaran plotted the attack on campus.

"I knew he was having money problems because of the whole process of him getting evicted from the apartment," Babakhani said. "And he was having trouble at work too I guess his hours got cut recently."

Seevakumaran was found in a third-floor dorm room at Tower 1 on the Orlando campus on Monday just after midnight after authorities say he pulled a fire alarm to get students to evacuate in one area, then pointing a gun at Babakhani, who then called 911. Police said they speculate Babakhani's call sped up law enforcement's response, botching Seevakumaran's plan and prompting him to instead turn the gun on himself.

Students have been forthcoming with gratitude for the UCF Police Department, along with calling Babakhani a "hero" for foiling Seevakumaran's attack.

Meanwhile, UCF is offering counseling for students after the attack, along with therapy dogs, one named Bohdi. 29 counselors have been meeting with numerous studeints dealing with anxiety.

"The anxiety can become chronic. So it's not just about this event anymore, it's about a chronic anxiety that someone is dealing with," said Director Karen Hofman. "It can turn into depression."

There will also be a police presence in Tower 1 until further notice, according to UCF officials.

Concerned students have also started questioning who is living in their dorms after the attack.

"My parents and my family would just like have a heart attack if they figured out that there's a 30-year-old man living in the same building as me," said Estefania Cruz-Alvarez, a UCF freshman.

Cruz-Alvarez feels there should be an age limit on who can live in the dorms on campus.

However UCF spokesperson, Grant Heston, says age is not a factor when it comes to housing students.

"You can't discriminate based on any class- be it age, be it race, be it national origin," he said.

There are 7,000 students living in dorms on campus at UCF, and 40 of those students are over the age of 25.

"What we try to do with these types of students, is you group like students together, so you might see students who are a little bit older, grouped together," he said.

Rollins College and the University of Florida both have policies that don't discriminate against age in their dorms for undergraduates.