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The Florida teen who was 'infatuated' with Columbine and made threats as she went to Colorado is now dead

Sol Pais, an armed 18-year-old woman who made "credible threats" and forced several school districts in Colorado to close, was found dead following a massive manhunt, according to local affiliates and law enforcement officials.

Posted: Apr 17, 2019 3:50 PM
Updated: Apr 17, 2019 3:50 PM

An armed teenager whose threats forced the closure of 19 school districts in Colorado was found dead from an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound, authorities said.

Sol Pais, an 18-year-old from Florida, was found Wednesday morning, Jefferson County Sheriff Jeff Shrader said. Investigators said they don't think Pais got onto the grounds of Columbine High School in Littleton.

But authorities said Pais was "infatuated" with the Columbine shooting and made threats as she traveled to Colorado this week -- the same week as the 20th anniversary of the Columbine High School massacre, which left 13 people dead.

Pais made "credible" -- but not specific -- threats after traveling from Miami to Denver on Monday night, said Dean Phillips, the special agent in charge of the Denver FBI office.

After Pais arrived in Colorado, she immediately went to a store in Littleton and bought a pump-action shotgun and ammunition, authorities said.

Pais was considered a threat to the community and schools, but there was no information on any specific threat to a particular place, Phillips said.

Relief and grief in Florida

More than 2,000 miles away, in the Miami suburb of Surfside, police Chief Julio Yero broke the news of Pais' death to her relatives.

Despite their grief, "they are actually grateful that no one else is hurt," Yero told reporters outside the family's home.

"This family contributed greatly to this investigation from the very onset," the police chief said. "They provided us valuable information that led us to Colorado, and a lot of things that assisted in preventing maybe more loss of life."

Yero asked the public to give the Pais family privacy as they mourn.

At least 19 school districts closed

Jefferson County Public Schools, which includes Columbine High School in Littleton, were among at least 19 school districts closed Wednesday as authorities searched for Pais.

With the search over, Jefferson County schools will reopen Thursday, Superintendent Jason Class said.

But he said there will be "heightened safety and security procedures" ahead of Saturday's anniversary of the Columbine massacre.

The teen was 'really smart,' baffled classmate says

Pais was a student at Miami Beach Senior High School, said Daisy Gonzalez-Diego, spokeswoman for Miami-Dade County Public Schools.

Prior to news of Pais' death, a man who said he was Pais' father told the Miami Herald he lost contact with his daughter Sunday.

"I think maybe she's got a mental problem," he told the Herald.

During the search for Pais, the teen's classmates said they were stunned that she was wanted for threats.

"I actually have my third-period math and my second period with her," 17-year-old Drew Burnstine said. "It's just kinda crazy -- she's so close to me, sitting next to me, and she's making these threats across the country."

Drew said he was surprised because Pais was "really smart" and had some of the best grades in the class.

But the teen was very quiet and kept to herself, Drew said.

"She hadn't really said anything to me other than thanking me for holding a door open for her," he said. "That's it."

'This opens a wound'

On April 20, 1999, two students killed 12 of their schoolmates and a teacher in a mass shooting at the high school in the town of Littleton -- about 10 miles from Denver.

Sheriff Shrader said this week's potential threat of violence adds more pain to a community still grieving.

"I know that this opens a wound, especially on an anniversary week, for those families who were most deeply impacted by this," he said.

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