ORLANDO, Fla. — A college student killed himself in a dorm at the University of Central Florida and investigators found explosives and guns in the room early Monday, authorities said, leading to the evacuation of hundreds of students and cancellation of morning classes.
University spokesman Grant Heston said normal campus operations resumed around noon after the makeshift devices were taken away from the dorm, which remained closed.
Authorities didn’t immediately say what the student’s intentions may have been.
“Obviously you never want somebody to commit suicide, but knowing what we know about what was in his room, we feel better at least that no one else was hurt,” Heston said.
University police were called to the dorm around 12:20 a.m. after a fire alarm went off, Heston said. While they were on their way to the scene, a 911 call came in about a man with a gun.
Arriving officers found a man dead from what appeared to be a self-inflicted gunshot wound inside a residence at the Tower 1 dorm. Heston said the man was a student at the university.
Heston said the dorm has suites, with a main kitchen and living area, along with four bedrooms. The dead man was inside one of the rooms. Inside the room, Heston said, police also found what they described as an assault weapon, a handgun and makeshift explosive devices. Florida law prohibits the possession of guns on state university campuses.
He said the Orange County Sheriff’s Office and the FBI are helping with the investigation. The sheriff’s bomb squad was examining the explosive devices Monday morning.
About 500 students were evacuated from the dorm, and Heston said it would remain closed until authorities give an all-clear on the building.
On Monday morning, flashing signs around the campus alerted students and staff about the canceled classes. The university said on its website that its main campus in Orlando has about 51,000 students, while satellite campuses add about 8,000 more.
The U.S. Department of Education ranked UCF as the second-largest four-year public university based on 2010 enrollment numbers.
Antonio Whitehead, 21, a junior from Hollywood, Fla., said he heard the fire alarm go off after midnight and thought it was a routine alarm. He headed outside where he saw a crowd already heading across the street from the dorm.