Suspect Accused Of Making 'Credible' Threats Dead, FBI Confirms

Apr 17, 2019
Originally published on April 17, 2019 2:36 pm

2:30 p.m. update: Gun store owner releases statement

The Littleton gun store that sold Pais a shotgun says they did so legally. The owner of Colorado Gun Broker posted on Facebook that Pais went through a full background check and was cleared by NICS and the Colorado Bureau of Investigation.

11:41 a.m. update: Sol Pais confirmed dead by FBI

A young Florida woman who traveled to Colorado and bought a shotgun for what authorities feared would be a Columbine-inspired attack just days ahead of the 20th anniversary was found dead Wednesday in an apparent suicide after a nearly 24-hour manhunt.

Jefferson County Sheriff Jeff Shrader said 18-year-old Sol Pais was discovered by the FBI with an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound.

The manhunt had led to the closing of Denver-area schools as a precaution.

During the manhunt, the FBI said Pais was "infatuated" with Columbine and made threats ahead of Saturday's anniversary of the attack that killed 13 people at Columbine High School in 1999. The FBI described her "extremely dangerous."

The Miami Beach high school student flew to Colorado on Monday night and bought a pump-action shotgun and ammunition, authorities said.

Agents had focused the search around the base of Mount Evans, a popular recreational area about 60 miles southwest of Denver.

All classes and extracurricular activities for about a half-million students were canceled as a precaution, though sheriff's spokesman Mike Taplin said the young woman's threats were general and not specific to any school.

"This has become a massive manhunt ... and every law enforcement agency is participating and helping in this effort," said Dean Phillips, agent in charge of the FBI in Denver.

Authorities said Pais was last seen not far from Columbine — in the Jefferson County foothills outside Denver — in a black T-shirt, camouflage pants and black boots.

The alert also said police who come into contact with her should detain her and evaluate her mental health.

Colorado Gov. Jared Polis said federal, state and local law enforcement were "dedicating all of their resources to locate this dangerous individual."

"We know that there is a lot of anxiety right now in Colorado," Polis said in a statement.

Because of the threat, Columbine and more than 20 other schools outside Denver locked their doors for nearly three hours Tuesday afternoon, and some canceled evening activities or moved them inside.

Pais' parents last saw her on Sunday and reported her missing to Florida authorities on Monday night, police in Surfside, Florida, said.

Messages left by The Associated Press at two numbers listed for Pais' relatives in Florida were not immediately returned, while another number was disconnected.

Adam Charni, a Miami Beach High School senior, said Pais dressed in black and kept mostly to herself. He said he was "baffled" to learn she was the person authorities in Colorado were searching for.

Another classmate, 17-year-old junior Drew Burnstine, said Pais was a quiet, smart student who sat alone in class and "never caused problems or indicated that she wanted to harm anyone."

Two teenage gunmen attacked Columbine on April 20, 1999, killing 12 classmates and a teacher before taking their own lives.

State Rep. Patrick Neville, the Republican House minority leader, was a 15-year-old sophomore at Columbine High at the time of the shooting and now has three school-age daughters.

"It wasn't easy for me to explain to my kids what was going on last night," Neville said on the House floor Wednesday.

Associated Press writers Ellis Rua in Miami Beach, Florida and James Anderson and Thomas Peipert in Denver contributed to this report.

10:45 a.m. update: Manhunt for Sol Pais over

Following confirmation from the FBI of investigative activity around the base of Mt. Evans, the FBI tweeted that there is "no longer a threat to the community" and the manhunt for Sol Pais has ended.

Authorities have not provided any additional information at this time.

Schools throughout Denver and northern Colorado, including the Poudre and Weld School districts, are closed today due to credible threats Pais made Tuesday afternoon.

Pais, who flew into Denver International Airport Monday and bought a gun in Littleton, has been the subject of a manhunt Wednesday morning. She has been characterized as obsessed with the 1999 Columbine high school shooting.

10:20 a.m. update: Lockdown at Pais's Miami high school

Students at Miami Beach High School spent much of the morning behind locked classroom doors after news emerged that authorities were searching in Colorado for a classmate allegedly obsessed with the 1999 Columbine shootings.

The FBI has said that Sol Pais, flew to Colorado on Monday night and bought a pump-action shotgun and ammunition.

Eduardo Filipo is a 17-year-old junior at the school and says that teachers locked classroom doors Wednesday as a precaution.

He says he saw Pais frequently at school and that she mostly kept to herself.

Police searched her home in the nearby city of Surfside.

Authorities initially said she "made threats to commit an act of violence in the Denver metropolitan area."

But the FBI later softened that description to say she made "threats in the Denver metro area" ahead of Saturday's anniversary of the 1999 shooting at Columbine High School that killed 13 people.

10:15 a.m. update: New information from FBI says Pais is danger to self

According to the FBI, Pais arrived at Denver International Airport on Monday morning. She purchased a firearm in Littleton.

Authorities say she is a threat to herself and the community. They have no information on probably cause or possible charges at this time.

10:10 a.m. update: Polis says law enforcement focusing "all of their resources" on search for Pais

Gov. Jared Polis is assuring Colorado residents that federal, state and local law enforcement are "dedicating all of their resources to locate this dangerous individual."

Polis is referring to Sol Pais. She is an 18-year-old Florida woman authorities say flew to Colorado and bought a shotgun and ammunition ahead of Saturday's 20th anniversary of the Columbine High School massacre.

Authorities initially said she "made threats to commit an act of violence in the Denver metropolitan area."

But the FBI later softened that description to say she made "threats in the Denver metro area"

The Democratic governor asked people to share information about Pais and report information to authorities.

"We know that there is a lot of anxiety right now in Colorado," Polis said in a statement Wednesday.

He says Colorado's "biggest priority is keeping our children safe."

8:30 a.m. update: Police seek information on Sol Pais, search family home

Police are searching the home of a young Florida woman who is allegedly obsessed with the 1999 Columbine school massacre and the subject of a search in Colorado.

Officers were seen removing the large stack of papers Wednesday morning from the single-family home of Sol Pais in Surfside, Florida, a city just north of Miami Beach.

School officials say Pais is a student at Miami Beach High School.

Neighbors watched as authorities searched the home.

Authorities have said Pais is 18 and traveled from Miami to Colorado Monday night.

They say she has not made a specific threat but say her fascination with the Columbine shooting and the gunmen and her recent actions raised suspicions.

Denver area schools are closed Wednesday as authorities search for her.

8:05 a.m. update: Police say Sol Pais was obsessed with 1999 Columbine shooting

A spokeswoman for Miami-Dade County Public Schools says the woman allegedly obsessed with the 1999 Columbine school massacre who authorities are searching for in Colorado is a Miami Beach High School student.

Spokeswoman Jackie Calzadilla says school officials are "fully assisting the FBI in their investigation."

Authorities have identified the woman as 18-year-old Sol Pais. They say traveled from Miami to Colorado on Monday night and was last seen in the foothills west of Denver.

The FBI's Dean Phillips says the woman is infatuated with the Columbine High School shooting.

"We take these threats seriously. It's certainly not the first threat that we've had that involves Columbine  High School or references it. And in that regard, I know that this opens a wound, especially on an anniversary," Phillips says.

They say she has not made a specific threat but say her fascination with the Columbine shooting and the gunmen and her recent actions raised suspicions.

Denver area schools are closed Wednesday as authorities search for her.

7:45 a.m. update: Schools in Denver, Front Range close as search continues

Denver area schools are closed as authorities search for a young Florida woman allegedly obsessed with the 1999 Columbine school massacre who traveled to Colorado and bought a gun days before the 20th anniversary of the school shooting.

About a half million students were forced to stay home Wednesday because authorities believe 18-year-old Sol Pais could pose a threat to a school.

They say she has not made a specific threat but say her fascination with the Columbine shooting and the gunmen and her recent actions raised suspicions.

She traveled from Miami to Colorado on Monday night and was last seen in the foothills west of Denver.

Her presence led officials to lock the doors at Columbine and about 20 other schools to as classes were held Tuesday.

April 16, 11:15 p.m. update: Schools in Colorado on high alert following credible threats

Schools in the Denver area are on heightened alert after authorities say a woman who is "infatuated" with the 1999 shooting at Columbine High School made threats just days before the 20th anniversary of the attack that killed 13 people.

Authorities are looking for 18-year-old Sol Pais after undisclosed threats prompted Columbine and more than 20 other schools outside Denver to lock their doors for nearly three hours Tuesday afternoon.

All schools in the Denver area were urged to tighten security, and some canceled evening activities or moved them inside.

Investigators say Pais traveled to Colorado from Miami on Monday night and bought a shotgun and ammunition. Police who might come into contact with her were told to detain her and evaluate her mental health.

Copyright 2019 KUNC. To see more, visit KUNC.