An armed teenager allegedly obsessed with the Columbine shooting has been found dead from an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound, authorities announced Wednesday.
The 18-year-old woman, Sol Pais, had allegedly made threats to schools in the Denver area, sparking a massive manhunt that started Tuesday.
Pais traveled this week from Miami — where she attended high school — to Colorado, where she bought a pump-action shotgun and ammunition, said Dean Phillips, special agent in charge of the Denver FBI.
She had allegedly expressed an infatuation with the 1999 shooting at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado; because of her comments and actions, she was considered a credible threat to the community, Phillips said. The Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office had called Pais “extremely dangerous.”
We are not a tourist attraction and we are not a place for you to come and gain inspiration.
This Saturday will mark 20 years since the Columbine massacre. On April 20, 1999, two students opened fire at Columbine High School, murdering 12 classmates and a teacher before killing themselves.
In the wake of the threats, Denver public schools closed on Wednesday, as well as public schools in Jefferson County, which encompasses Columbine High School.
“A student who doesn’t feel safe at school is not a well-educated student,” John McDonald, executive director of security and emergency management for Jefferson County schools, said at a Wednesday news conference. “I’m very thankful this threat is over and we can get back to the business of learning. But we know that Columbine continues to attract people from around the world, and if I have any message: we are not a place to come visit if you are not a student… we are not a tourist attraction and we are not a place for you to come and gain inspiration.”
Public schools are also closed Wednesday in nearby Littleton, Cherry Creek, Douglas County and Aurora.
Schools in the Denver area were placed on lockout as a precaution on Tuesday. Students were later released and no one was injured.
The threat wasn’t isolated to one school or individual, police said.
Pais was a senior at Miami Beach Senior High School in Miami, Florida. The Miami-Dade County Public Schools said it was “fully cooperating” with the search for the teenager.
“There is no immediate threat to Miami-Dade Schools. However, in an abundance of caution and as a matter of prevention, we have heightened our alert systems,” Miami-Dade schools said in a statement on Wednesday. “Law enforcement officials are conducting a comprehensive background check on this student. Based on initial information, she has not been the subject of any investigation.”
Pais’ neighbor, Ben Nohan, described the teen to ABC News as “an incredibly sweet girl.”
“There’s nothing really out of the ordinary about her,” Nohan said Wednesday morning. “They’re the nicest neighbors I have.”
Columbine anniversary events will continue as planned, officials said.