Jessica Hagstrom

A potetially devastating active shooter incident was interrupted by police early Monday morning at the University of Central Florida. University of Central Florida student James Seevakumaran, 30, was planning to conduct a mass shooting in his dormitory. While police are still investigating the circumstances behind the failed attack, there is clear evidence he was in the final stages of preparation and was ready to implement his plan.

Police were initially alerted by a fire alarm which rang out immediately after midnight in the Tower 1 dormitory. Immediately after pulling the fire alarm, Seevakumaran pointed a .22 caliber rifle at his roommate, Arabo Babakhani, who slammed the door to his bedroom and called 911. This is the point when the suspects plan failed. 

Seevakumaran intended to target students as they left their rooms and entered crowded hallways and congested stairwells. Seevakumaran was prepared for the deadly attack, amassing hundreds of rounds of ammunition. Also, he compiled a significant armory which included a .45 caliber handgun, .22 caliber rifle with high capacity magazines and four homemade unspecified improvised explosive devices. Additionally, there were two packages waiting in the dormitory mail room which contained a rifle sling, an ammunition magazine and an instructional DVD on shooting with a laser aiming device.

Police quickly arrived on the scene and started to move toward the suspect’s room. An online video shows the moment police entered Seevakumarans’ room, only to find his lifeless body on the floor from a self-inflicted gunshot wound. Next to the body were several weapons, a bag containing the homemade explosives and a checklist. The checklist was a chronological description, pre-planning the attack. Police commented that he checked off items as he progressed, including drinking at a local bar immediately before pulling the fire alarm. His list ended with the saying, “give ’em hell.”  

The MSA Research and Intelligence Team has been following this situation closely, and has identified the following implications:

  • Seevakumaran was described as a loner, often keeping to himself and avoiding contact with roommates.
  • Also, he was an adult student attending classes with younger college students who may not share the same interests.
  • Prior to the attack he was being forced to leave campus for failing to register for the spring 2013 semester. School officials said he should have been evicted much sooner, but the school is “compassionate” to students with limited resources.
  • Officials believe the rapid law enforcement response disrupted his timeline which ended the attack before it began. 

With active shooter incidents on the rise, MSA is offering schools and universities free security consultations and has developed the MSA Golden 15 Strategy to help educational institutions address, prepare for, and ultimately survive the active shooter.

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