Central Florida Campus Shuts Down After Explosives Found

Monday, 18 Mar 2013 10:14 AM

 

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The University of Central Florida closed its main campus in Orlando on Monday while police investigated an apparent suicide and a number of bombs found in a residence hall, the school said.

Campus police received a fire alarm and then a 911 emergency call "regarding a man with a gun" early Monday morning, according to the university, which is one of the largest in the United States.

When police officers arrived, they found the body of a man with an apparently self-inflicted gunshot wound and closed the seven-story residence hall. Police found a handgun, an assault weapon and a bag containing explosives in the student's room, said university spokesman Grant Heston.

At 2:09 a.m., police sent students a text message alert that the residential Tower 1 dormitory, home to about 500 students, would be evacuated due to a "suspicious death."

Another text alert at 2:46 a.m. reassured residents that there was no threat.

"It was clear at that point that there was no imminent threat from a live shooter, which is the first thing you worry about," Heston said.

Residents, some wrapped in blankets or in sleepwear, were sent to another building on campus for food and counseling. Students in other dormitories were not evacuated.

The Orange County Sheriff's bomb squad was on campus, and the FBI was assisting the university's police department.

The university is one of the largest in the United States, with an enrollment of about 60,000 students, a total that includes students at satellite campuses and online students.

The school said the main campus would remain closed until noon.

A student, Laura Vickers, posted a message on the school's Facebook page, calling the incident a tragedy.

"I am sad to say a UCF Knight took their own life today in Tower 1," Vickers wrote in a post that appeared around 8 a.m. "Despite the ... devices found in the student's room this loss was a tragedy.

"This week I encourage all UCF students to lend a helping hand to a roommate or friend or contact someone you haven't spoken to in awhile. Life is precious and it can end in the blink of an eye."

© 2014 Thomson/Reuters. All rights reserved.

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