MIAMI (AFP) - US police said they had likely foiled a bomb and gun attack at a Florida university, after an early morning incident that saw the mastermind of the plot apparently take his own life.
The drama began when campus police at the University of Central Florida (UCF) in Orlando responded to a fire alarm call at around 12.20am local time on Monday, after which a 911 call was made regarding a man with a gun.
"It could have been a bad day for everybody here," said UCF police chief Richard Beary in a statement. "All things considered, I think we were very blessed."
The would-be perpetrator was 30-year-old James Seevakumaran, the university said, noting that he died of an apparently self-inflicted gunshot wound.
Hundreds of students were evacuated from the university's central campus, which was closed down until noon.
Police found four improvised explosive devices in a backpack, a handgun and a tactical assault rifle in Seevakumaran's apartment, according to the university.
Classes and normal operations have since resumed and the explosive devices were all removed from the third floor of the Tower 1 residence hall, where Seevakumaran lived. The residence hall also reopened after police concluded their searches.
Seevakumaran had been a student at the university's College of Business Administration, but was not enrolled in any classes this semester, and was in the process of being removed from his dorm room, the statement said.
"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," the university said.