Colorado schools threat suspect Sol Pais found dead: FBI

by Kim Boateng Posted on April 17th, 2019

Authorities found Sol Pais dead from a self-inflicted gunshot wound Wednesday in Colorado, where she allegedly made violent threats against Denver area schools.

“The FBI just confirmed that they have found Ms. Pais deceased from an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound,” Jefferson County Sheriff Jeff Schrader said in a news conference. She was found during an intense manhunt near Mount Evans.

The FBI was conducting a massive munhunt for Sol Pais, 18, in connection with threats against schools. Several schools were closed Wednesday due to the threats.

“There is no longer a threat to the community,” the FBI Denver field office tweeted.

Officials said they would reveal additional details at a news conference at 1:30 p.m. EDT.

The Colorado Department of Higher Education praised the FBI for ending the threat.

“Thank you to our #highered institutions and law enforcement partners for protecting our students and campuses today,” the Department of Higher Education tweeted.

Authorities said Pais had traveled to Colorado from her home near Miami. She was believed to have bought a pump-action shotgun upon arriving in Colorado.

The FBI on Tuesday said Pais was “extremely dangerous” and had made threats to “commit an act of violence in the Denver metropolitan area.” Officials said she’s “infatuated” with the 1999 Columbine shooting attack.

The Denver, Douglas County and Cherry Creek school districts called off Wednesday classes, activities and athletics at all schools late Tuesday night, citing “safety concerns related to a credible threat against schools in the area.”

Some Colorado colleges along the Front Range are responding to the massive manhunt for an armed woman “infatuated with Columbine” with closures or increased police presence after most major Denver-area school districts and others cancelled classes due to the “credible threats.”

Red Rocks Community College’s Lakewood and Arvada campuses are closed Wednesday “due to safety concerns,” the college said.

All Arapahoe Community College campuses also are closed Wednesday.

“Today’s event can be difficult to process,” read an alert on the ACC homepage. “ACC and the office of Student Engagement offer free on campus counseling services. You can also reach out to Colorado Crisis Services at 1-844-493-8255 or text “Talk” to 38255. Mental Health America offers suggestions for feeling safe when you return to class. Please reach out to us if you’d like to talk. If you have a concern for a friend, classmate or colleague message us through Refer a Concern.”

The University of Denver, University of Colorado Boulder and the Auraria campus in Denver, which is home to three colleges, all remained open but increased security.

Most major Denver-area school districts — and others across the Front Range — have canceled classes Wednesday, including Denver Public Schools, Douglas County School District, Aurora Public Schools and Jeffco Public Schools, home to Columbine High School, which was on lockout on Tuesday along with more than 20 other schools in that district over the “credible threats” from 18-year-old Sol Pais.

The University of Denver will be operating on a normal schedule, although “out of an abundance of caution,” DU said all campus buildings are on lockout. Faculty, staff and students on campus will need their DU I.D. card to access any building.

DU will also have more campus safety officers than normal, the university said.

“We recognize this will be a difficult day and want to be thoughtful of Denver metro school closures,” read a DU letter to their community. “Employees responsible for the care of their dependents are permitted to remain home with them. Please discuss and make arrangements with your supervisor to work remotely to the extent possible.”

Other colleges with an increased police presence that remain open include: CU Anschutz, Colorado Christian University, Colorado School of Mines and University of Northern Colorado.

April 20 is an emotional date for many Denver-area parents and students because it’s the anniversary of the Columbine shooting in which two students killed 12 of their classmates and a coach before killing themselves. There’s typically an uptick in threats made to schools around that date every year.

“All students and staff are safe. Students will be released from schools normally; buses will be running on normal schedule,” the Jefferson County School District, which is home to Columbine, announced. “We will have extra safety and security staff on site at all schools affected.”

Image: Sol Pais was wanted for making threats against Colorado schools, Police said. Photo courtesy Jeffco Sheriff/Twitter

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