An armed teenager whose threats forced the closure of 19 school districts in Colorado was found dead from an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound, authorities said.
The body of Sol Pais, an 18-year-old from Florida, was found Wednesday morning in Littleton, Jefferson County Sheriff Jeff Shrader said. Investigators said they don’t think Pais made it onto the grounds of Columbine High School.
Authorities said Pais was “infatuated” with the Columbine shooting and made threats as she traveled to Colorado this week — the same week as the 20th anniversary of the Columbine High School massacre, which left 13 people dead.
Pais made “credible” — but not specific — threats after traveling from Miami to Denver on Monday night, said Dean Phillips, the special agent in charge of the Denver FBI office.
After Pais arrived in Colorado, she immediately went to a store and bought a pump-action shotgun and ammunition, the FBI said.
Pais was considered a threat to the community and schools, but there was no information on any specific threat to a particular place, Phillips said.
At least 19 school districts closed
Jefferson County Public Schools, which includes Columbine High School in Littleton, were among almost 20 school districts closed Wednesday as authorities searched for Pais.
With the search for Pais now over, Jefferson County schools will reopen Thursday, Superintendent Jason Class said. But there will be “heightened safety and security procedures” ahead of Saturday’s 20th anniversary of the Columbine massacre.
Boulder Valley School District Superintendent Rob Anderson said the decision to close school Wednesday was an easy choice among Denver-area superintendents.
“We couldn’t take the risk of having one student or staff member injured — so superintendents unanimously decided late last night to close school,” Anderson wrote to parents Wednesday.
The teen was last seen wearing camo
Pais was a student at Miami Beach Senior High School, said Daisy Gonzalez-Diego, spokeswoman for Miami-Dade County Public Schools.
Gonzalez-Diego declined to give more details about Pais.
After the 18-year-old arrived in Colorado on Monday, she purchased a pump-action shotgun and ammunition and went to the foothills near Denver, Phillips said Tuesday.
“Her comments, her actions that we have heard about from others tend to cause us great concern that she may pose a threat to a school,” he added.
Prior to news of Pais’ death, a man who said he was Pais’ father told the Miami Herald he lost contact with his daughter Sunday.
“I think maybe she’s got a mental problem,” he told the Herald.
‘This opens a wound’
On April 20, 1999, two students killed 12 of their schoolmates and a teacher in a mass shooting at the high school in the town of Littleton — about 10 miles from Denver.
Sheriff Shrader said this week’s potential threat of violence adds more pain to a community still grieving.
“I know that this opens a wound, especially on an anniversary week, for those families who were most deeply impacted by this,” he said.