Colorado authorities are searching for Sol Pais, an armed woman accused of contributing to a threat that caused more than 20 schools, including Columbine High School, to be placed on lockout.
The suspect, identified as 18 year-old Sol Pais, travelled to Colorado on the night prior “and made threats in the Denver metropolitan area”, the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office said in a Facebook post.
Police spokesperson Jenny Fulton said the threats weren’t directed to a specific school.
“It’s a credible threat … but she did not make it directly,” Ms Fulton said.
Have You Seen this Woman?The FBI Denver Division and Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office are asking for the public’s…
Posted by Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office on Tuesday, April 16, 2019
Pais was last seen in the foothills west of Denver, and was considered extremely dangerous and should not be approached.
The doors were locked at Columbine and more than 20 other schools in the Denver area as the sheriff’s office said it was investigating threats against schools related to an FBI investigation.
Students left classes on time, but after-school activities were cancelled at Columbine in Littleton, Colorado.
Earlier on Wednesday morning (Australian time), police officials said they were investigating “a credible threat possibly involving the schools”.
Police requested the lockout in Jefferson County, Colorado as they searched for a “suspicious person” in the area, according to a news release from Diana Wilson, a spokeswoman from Jeffco Public Schools,
“Everyone is safe,” Ms Wilson said in the news release, adding that all students will be released on a normal schedule.
“We will have extra safety and security staff on site at all schools affected,” Jefferson County Public Schools said.
The Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office said deputies were posted at the schools involved.
We are currently investigating what appears to be a credible threat possibly involving the schools. Children are safe. Deputies are at the schools. Multiple schools are on lockout in Columbine area & Mountains. More details to come #JeffCo pic.twitter.com/LwS6VJKxdV
— Jeffco Sheriff (@jeffcosheriffco) April 16, 2019
School officials say the doors were locked but classes were continuing on at Columbine High School and two other nearby schools and at other schools farther away in the district.
Less serious than a lockdown, a lockout means that classes continue as normal inside the schools, but entry and exit is restricted.
The lockout comes just days before the 20th anniversary of a mass shooting at the Columbine school that killed 12 students and a teacher.
There was no immediate indication whether Wednesday’s lockdown has any connection to the anniversary.
One woman on Facebook said she suffered “heart palpitations” while awaiting news of her granddaughter who was in one of the affected schools.
Another said her “heart stopped” when she read that Fruita Monument High School was on lockdown.
According to a local paper, the number of reported lockouts increased by 52 per cent from the 2016-17 school year to the 2017-18 school year.