The Free Press, Mankato, MN

State, national news

March 18, 2013

Weapons, explosives found in Florida dorm room

— Authorities investigating the apparent suicide of a college student discovered weapons and explosive devices in a dorm on the University of Central Florida campus in Orlando early Monday, and hundreds of students were evacuated, though the school said there was no immediate threat.

University police were called to the dorm around 12:20 a.m. after a fire alarm went off, UCF spokesman Grant 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, police also found what they described as an assault weapon, a handgun and improvised explosive devices.

Heston 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 an adjacent parking garage was closed initially.

"We don't believe there is any imminent threat to the campus," Heston said.

The university canceled classes through noon Monday as a precaution. Flashing signs around the campus alerted students and staff about the cancelled classes. Campus shuttle buses were lined up about a half-mile from campus, with drivers standing by once the campus opens.

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.

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