Nightly News   |  March 18, 2013

Larger tragedy averted in Orlando?

Police discovered a handgun, a rifle and a backpack with four improvised explosive devices, in the room of the University of Central Florida student who shot himself to death. There was also evidence that a broader attack may have been planned, police say. NBC’s Mark Potter reports.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> good evening. it appears we came very close with having to come on the air tonight with a special report about a mass casualty disaster on a major college campus . this time it was on the sprawling campus of the university of central florida in orlando. police say a student was heavily armed with multiple explosives and weapons, including an assault weapon . they say he had a plan of attack which he had initiated, but thankfully, apparently someone saw something and said something and tonight a huge tragedy has apparently been averted. nbc's mark potter starts us off from there tonight.

>> reporter: it was shortly after midnight when the tara i dorm at university of central florida in orlando was evacuated. police received a fire alert followed by a 911 call from a student who said he was hiding in a bathroom after his roommate pulled a gun on him.

>> police had like ak-47s and they had guns out, so i figured either an intruder or something. there's cops speeding in and out.

>> reporter: first police rescued the caller and then found a student who had shot himself to death in his room and then made another disturbing discovery.

>> while they were in the room, they did see a .45-caliber handgun and a .22 magnum caliber tactical rifle. the officers on scene determined there was no immediate threat at that point because the subject was dead.

>> reporter: but police say while processing the crime scene , they then found a backpack filled with four improvised explosive devices . they identified the student who killed himself as 30-year-old james oliver cumaron, who was living in the dorm, and said they found evidence that a broader attack may have been planned.

>> this individual had laid out a timeline and laid out some of what we feel were going to be his actions. what we are pretty confident of is that the fast response, along with some other situations, maybe made him change his mind at that point and he took his own life.

>> reporter: police say sevacumaro pulled a fire alarm and believe he did so to force other students out of their rooms. they said a weaponry test shows a rifle came out of a gun shop . students are back in their dorms and counseling is being provided. police have not offered a motive for the attack plan, but students say the student who shot himself was not registered for the current term and that they were involved in the process of moving him out of the dorm when this incident occurred. brian?

>> it appears we came very close. mark potter starting us out of miami tonight. mark, thanks.