A young Florida woman who traveled to Colorado, bought a shotgun and allegedly threatened Denver schools was found dead with an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound in Clear Creek County after a nearly 24-hour manhunt, the FBI confirmed.
Sol Pais, 18, was found near the Echo Lake Lodge at the base of Mount Evans. She went missing from her home in Surfside, Fla., Monday after flying to Denver. Once in the state, she bought a shotgun and made general threats to Denver area schools. Pais is believed to have used a ride sharing service to travel from the airport, to Littleton and into the foothills.
“We are relieved that the threat to our schools and community are no longer present,” said Jason Glass, the Jefferson County Public Schools superintendent.
Said Gov. Jared Polis on Twitter: “It’s times like these that help us appreciate friendship, family, and community. Today, parents across Colorado – including me – are hugging their children a little tighter.”
Pais was “infatuated” with the Columbine massacre, according to the FBI. The 20-year anniversary of the mass shooting, which left 12 students and one teacher dead, is Saturday.
Columbine High School, more than 20 other schools in Jefferson County and others outside Denver locked their doors for nearly three hours Tuesday afternoon before Wednesday’s complete closures were announced. Glass said the half-million students would return to school Thursday and that weekend events for the Columbine massacre anniversary would go as planned.
John McDonald, the safety executive director for the Jefferson County Public Schools, said the decision to cancel school Wednesday was hard but the best “for our kids.”
When they’re concerned about their safety, “they can’t focus, they can’t study, they can’t take that test,” he said during a news conference Wednesday. “I’m very thankful that the threat is over.
“We know that Columbine continues to attract people from around the world. If I have any message, we are not a place to visit if you are not a student. If you don’t have business there, we are not a tourist attraction. We are not a place where you can come to gain inspiration.”
In Pais’ hometown of Surfside, Florida, Police Chief Julio Yero to the Associated Press that the family be given “privacy and a little time to grieve.”
“This family contributed greatly to this investigation from the very onset. They provided valuable information that led us to Colorado and a lot of things that assisted in preventing maybe more loss of life,” he said to AP.
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