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UCF Classes Resume After Death, Explosive Found

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Dorm where explosive device found on UCF campus. (Source: CBS4)

Dorm where explosive device found on UCF campus. (Source: CBS4)

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ORLANDO (CBSMiami/AP) — Classes have resumed at the University of Central Florida in Orlando. Monday morning’s classes were cancelled after a small arsenal was found in a dorm room.

Police were called to the dorm after a fire alarm went off around just before `12:30 a.m. Arriving officers found the body of a student who appeared to have died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound. Police also found weapons and explosives.

Police said a bomb squad was sent to the campus.

About 500 students were evacuated from the dorm and a parking garage was closed.

University spokesman Grant Heston said normal operations resumed at the campus around noon after the makeshift devices were taken away, but the dorm was still closed.

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 incendiary devices. Florida law prohibits the possession of guns on state university campuses.

“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.

About 500 students were evacuated from the dorm.

Antonio Whitehead, 21, a junior from Hollywood, 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.

“All of a sudden, I felt the crowd move a little faster. And a police officer with a machine gun or something told everyone to start moving a lot faster,” he said.

Whitehead, who has lived in the dorm for two years, said the students were moved to an open area about 1,000 feet from UCF Arena. The area is a busy section of the campus, with restaurants and shops nearby.

Grant Hernandez, 20, a sophomore from Orlando who also is a resident at the dorm, said he woke up sometime after midnight when police were evacuating the building.

“We weren’t allowed to get our cars. We weren’t allowed to get our personal effects,” Hernandez said.

“All we saw were people running, and they were not telling us what was going on,” he added. “We were left unsure of things. It wasn’t till about 6 o’clock that we got more information and a clearer picture of what was going on.” He said officers on the scene began providing more information, and students checked updates on the university’s website.

A statement there said the UCF Arena would open to accommodate displaced students. Counselors would be available to talk to students who need assistance.

The Tower 1 dorm is part of the school’s popular Towers at Knight Plaza apartment building complex, according to UCF’s website. Tower 1 has seven floors. The typical apartment layout has four bedroom and two bathrooms, the website says. Heston said the student who died had three roommates.

(TM and © Copyright 2013 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2013 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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