A student leaves Columbine High School late Tuesday in Littleton, Colo. Authorities say they are looking for a woman they say presented a credible threat ahead of the 20th anniversary of the mass shooting there. David Zalubowski/AP
A student leaves Columbine High School late Tuesday in Littleton, Colo. Authorities say they are looking for a woman they say presented a credible threat ahead of the 20th anniversary of the mass shooting there.
More than a dozen school districts in Colorado are closed Wednesday after the FBI and local law enforcement warned of an 18-year-old white woman who is “armed and dangerous” in the Denver metropolitan area.
Sol Pais flew from Miami to Denver on Monday and “immediately” bought a pump action shotgun and ammunition, FBI Denver Special Agent In Charge Dean Phillips told reporters Tuesday evening.
Pais had “made some concerning comments in the past” and had an “infatuation” with the 1999 Columbine High School shooting and its perpetrators, Phillips said at the press conference. She was last seen in the foothills of Jefferson County, in the metro Denver area.
Phillips said law enforcement had no specific information about a threat to any one particular school, but they thought it was a “credible threat certainly to the community and potentially to schools.”
“This has become a massive manhunt,” with multiple law enforcement agencies searching for Pais, Phillips said.
The 20th anniversary of the Columbine shooting is Saturday.
Denver Mayor Michael B. Hancock said Denver Public Schools will be closed Wednesday. Jefferson County (Jeffco) Public Schools, of which Columbine is a part, are closed as well. Fourteen other school districts in the area are closed as well, according to Colorado Public Radio.
Pais had not been charged with a crime as of Tuesday evening, Phillips told reporters. Phillips said the FBI was working with federal prosecutors, and local authorities were working with local prosecutors to bring charges against Pais.
As of now, if Pais were found immediately, “we will certainly hold her for as long as we can legally,” Phillips said.
Pais has no specific known connections to Colorado, Phillips said.
Columbine High School and several others in Jefferson County were placed on “lockout” Tuesday, which means entry and exit are restricted while classes continue as usual.
“We take these threats seriously,” Jefferson County Sheriff Jeff Shrader told reporters. It’s “not the first threat” to involve or reference Columbine, he said, and “I know that this opens a wound especially on an anniversary week.”
Two students at Columbine High School killed 13 people and then killed themselves on April 20, 1999. Twenty-four other people were injured. The incident has inspired other school shootings, researchers and journalists say.
In the time since, Jefferson County Public Schools has built what The Washington Post described as “likely the most sophisticated school security system in the country” that includes remote-control locks, cameras, a 24-hour dispatch center, and monitoring of certain students and their social media accounts.