Message from President Hitt
March 18, 2013
Update, March 19, 1:50 p.m.
President John C. Hitt sent out a message to the UCF community today. To read it, click here.
6:30 p.m. update: Tower 1 is now completely reopened.
5:20 p.m. update: Most of Tower 1 has reopened. Only the third floor, where today’s incident occurred, remains evacuated. The Veterans Academic Resource Center remains open to serve students who are still unable to return to their rooms. Counseling services, food and water, as well as places to rest, are available.
The deceased in today’s incident is James Oliver Seevakumaran, 30. He was a student in the College of Business Administration enrolled from fall 2010 through fall 2012. He was not enrolled in any courses in spring 2013 and was in the process of being removed from UCF housing, where he lived on the third floor of Tower 1.
Seevakumaran was found in his apartment with a handgun, tactical assault rifle and backpack containing four IEDs.
UCF Police were assisted in the investigation by the Orange County Sheriff’s Office, FBI, ATF and FDLE.
It appears as if Seevakumaran had a larger-scale timeline of violence planned. No individuals were named specifically, and he was acting alone, according to preliminary investigations.
“Times like today challenge us individually, as an organization, and as a university community,” said UCF President John C. Hitt. “The first test for all of us is whether we are focused on the safety of our community, and I am confident that UCF has passed that test. The safety and welfare of our students, faculty and staff, visitors, and neighbors is UCF’s highest priority. The test of compassion is also very important, and our prayers go to everyone affected by today’s incident.”
“It could have been a very bad day for everybody here,” said UCF Police Chief Richard Beary. “All things considered, I think we were very here blessed at the University of Central Florida.”
The University of Central Florida main campus reopened for classes and regular operations at noon Monday. All of the improvised explosive devices were removed from Tower 1 before classes resumed. Tower 1 is a residence hall located in Knights Plaza near the UCF Arena.
The Veterans Academic Resource Center near the UCF Arena opened at 7 a.m. for residents of Tower 1. Counseling services and food have been available, along with places to rest. The VARC remains open for students living on the third floor of Tower 1.
The university asks faculty members to be understanding that students living in Tower 1 will not have access to their textbooks, laptops and other materials.
Counseling and Psychological Services is offering crisis services today in its main office as well as at the Veterans Academic Resource Center. Students can meet individually or in small groups with CAPS clinicians. In-person crisis services are available until 6 p.m. at both locations, and telephone crisis services will be available thereafter until the office opens again at 8 a.m. Tuesday. If the need arises, expanded hours for in-person crisis services will be provided. Students can call CAPS’ main office at 407-823-2811 to schedule an appointment or can walk in to either location for services. For telephone crisis services after 6 p.m., students can call 407-823-2811 and select option 5.
UCF Police received a fire alarm call at about 12:20 a.m. While responding to that call, police received a 911 call regarding a man with a gun. When police arrived, they found a victim who died of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound. Tower 1 was evacuated, and Parking Garage G was closed. As investigators reviewed the scene, they found a handgun, an assault weapon and IEDs.
UCF closed the main campus for classes and normal operations until noon. Essential personnel reported to work, but other employees were asked to stay off campus until noon. All classes scheduled to start before noon today are canceled.
Classes and operations in the Central Florida Research Park and all regional campuses and satellite facilities will continue as scheduled today.
Additional updates will be posted on this page.
This information was last updated on March 19, 2013 at 2:25 PM EST