All public schools in the Denver metro area were closed Wednesday as authorities launched a massive search for an 18-year-old armed woman who is “infatuated” with the 1999 mass shooting at Columbine High School.
Sol Pais flew from Miami to Colorado on Tuesday and immediately went to a store and bought a pump-action shotgun and ammunition, the FBI said.
Authorities said she “made threats to commit an act of violence in the Denver metropolitan area” just days before the 20th anniversary of the Columbine shooting, the infamous massacre in which two gunmen killed 12 students and a teacher.
Pais is armed and considered to be “extremely dangerous,” the FBI said. A task force alert advised authorities to detain her and evaluate her mental health status.
Authorities described her as a white, 18-year-old woman with brown hair. She was last seen in the foothills of Jefferson County wearing a black T-shirt, camouflage pants, and black boots.
Pais is being considered a “credible threat” to the Denver community and “potentially a threat to schools” because she has “expressed an infatuation” with the Columbine shooting and its perpetrators, Dean Phillips, special agent in charge of the FBI in Denver, said on Tuesday.
Phillips said that authorities had heard about her “concerning” comments and actions from others but did not provide further details. They said her threats and comments were “mostly spoken.”
Pais had not make any specific threats to any particular schools in the Denver metro area, authorities said.
The Jefferson County Public Schools announced late Tuesday night that all schools would closed on Wednesday “due to ongoing safety concerns.”
On Tuesday, multiple schools in the area, including Columbine High School, were on lockout after the FBI in Miami alerted Denver authorities to Pais’s actions.
Authorities urged for the public’s assistance in locating her but warned people not to approach Pais.
“This has become a massive manhunt…and every law enforcement agency is participating and helping in this effort,” Phillips said.
“We take these threats seriously,” Jefferson County Sheriff Jeff Shrader said Tuesday.
He said that while threats related to Columbine were not uncommon, this incident has “opened a wound” for the families impacted by Columbine, “especially on the anniversary week” of the shooting.