Sol Pais was considered "armed" and "extremely dangerous"

By Chris Harris Helen Murphy and Greg Hanlon
April 17, 2019 12:57 PM

The woman authorities said had “expressed an infatuation” with the 1999 Columbine High School shooting and whose threats prompted the Wednesday closing of many Denver-area schools has been found dead from a self-inflicted gunshot wound, authorities announced.

Before her death, Florida woman Sol Pais, 18, had been described by authorities as being armed and “extremely dangerous.”

At a Wednesday press conference after her death, Dean Phillips, the special agent in charge of the FBI Denver division, said she was found near Colorado’s Mt. Evans after a manhunt.

Before she was found, on Tuesday night, Phillips said Pais had “expressed an infatuation with Columbine,” referring to the massacre in which 13 people were killed.

In a Facebook post on Wednesday, the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office said that Pais had traveled to Colorado on Monday night and “made threats in the Denver metropolitan area.” The FBI Denver division said that the threats were “not isolated to one school or individual.”

Pais’ threats came days before the 20th anniversary of the school shooting, which occurred on April 20, 1999.

Pais bought a pump-action shotgun and ammunition after arriving in Denver. She killed herself using that weapon, Phillips said.

The Miami Herald reports that when she was wanted, a man answering the door at Pais’ home in Florida identified himself as her father and encouraged his daughter to come home. According to the outlet, he said he had lost contact with Pais on Sunday.

“I think maybe she’s got a mental problem,” he said, according to the outlet. “I think she’s gonna be okay.”

Many Denver metro area schools went into “lockout” on Tuesday. In a lockout, school continues as scheduled but all entryways and exists are restricted, according to the Jefferson County Public School district. Students were later deemed safe, and released at the normal time.

Prior to news of Pais’ death, a statement on the Columbine High School website said that the high school was closed on Wednesday, along with all schools in the Jefferson Country district.

Prior to Pais’ death, a statement to PEOPLE from the district-level Jeffco Public Schools said: “We — Jeffco Public Schools as well as Columbine High School — are deeply concerned about this threat. With our history, it brings up strong emotions from the entire community. We are focusing on working with our law enforcement and school safety partners to make sound decisions to keep our students and staff as safe as possible. As the situation progresses, all information about what is or is not happening in our schools will be posted on our website and social media.”

Police outside Columbine High School on Tuesday

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Denver Public Schools were also closed on Wednesday. “Superintendents from school districts across the Denver-metro area gathered for a call Tuesday night and collectively determined that the safest course of action will be to close schools Wednesday, April 17,” a statement read.

“The decision was based on information provided by law enforcement and analysis provided by threat assessment experts. Based on the fact that the FBI have identified a person who represents a credible threat and her whereabouts are unknown at this time, the districts agreed that it was best to exercise extreme caution and close schools for the day.”