ORLANDO (CBS4/AP) — The roommate of a former University of Central Florida student who plotted an attack on campus says he barely spoke to his housemate and had no idea what he was planning to do.
Christopher Folk and two others shared an on-campus apartment with James Oliver Seevakumaran, 30, who committed suicide before carrying out his plan.
Folk was in Maryland early Monday when authorities say Seevakumaran was preparing to attack fellow students with guns and bombs. In the minimal interactions Folk had with the man he described as “quiet and introverted,” he never saw signs of the violence investigators said Seevakumaran was plotting.
“No I never did. I definitely would have said something,” Folk told The Associated Press on Wednesday.
Authorities released evidence on Tuesday that showed Seevakumaran was crossing items off a handwritten list ahead of his attack on students.
The list found along with his dead body early Monday included drinking at a bar near campus and pulling the fire alarm — which investigators believe was meant to flush out potential victims. A photo of the list showed a final entry that read “good luck & give them hell!”
Instead, Seevakumaran shot and killed himself as police officers arrived in response to the fire alarm and a 911 call from another roommate. No one else was hurt.
“My mouth just dropped. My heart dropped,” Folk said of first hearing the news. “It’s like, wow, I could have been there. Things could have gone so much worse.”
Folk had planned to return Sunday night from his weekend trip visiting his mother and stepfather, but his mother asked him to stay an extra night.
“I thank God every day for that,” Folk said. “It really is tough because all I can think about is the ‘what ifs’ running through my mind.”
Folk, a junior sports medicine major, moved into Tower 1 last semester and said it took about a week before he even knew Seevakumaran lived there.
Folk said Seevakumaran always kept to himself.
“I thought it was pretty weird that he didn’t want to talk to anyone at all,” he said. “He never acknowledged you as a person. He always looked off into space when he talked. I did find that odd, but I just thought he was just trying to get done with school…I never met anyone like him. I never met anyone that you just felt like they didn’t want you around.”
Their most meaningful interaction came when he asked Folk for a favor.
“The only real conversation we ever had, he asked me to borrow my clippers to cut his hair,” Folk said. “He returned them, but he never said ‘thank you’ or anything. That was the only real conversation.”
With his apartment still a crime scene as part of the ongoing investigation, Folk is staying at a hotel with his parents, who have flown in from Maryland.
He said he is trying to take his mind off the ordeal by consuming himself in his studies, which have included “a pretty big anatomy quiz.”
He’s also been texting and talking to his two fellow roommates, whom he’s always been friendly with.
“I’m just really trying to get back in my routine, talking to my friends, reading the Bible and trying to do whatever I can not to think about it,” Folk said.
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