Sol Pais, woman 'infatuated' with Columbine, found dead with self-inflicted gunshot wound

Dylan Stableford
Senior Writer

Sol Pais, the 18-year-old Florida woman who was said to be “infatuated” with the 1999 massacre at Columbine High School in Colorado, was found dead Wednesday near Mount Evans in Clear Creek County, west of Denver, officials there said.

“It looks as if she was alone,” FBI special agent Dean Phillips said at a news conference Wednesday afternoon, adding that she was viewed as “a threat to the community.”

The FBI said Pais purchased three one-way tickets from Florida to Denver on three successive days, and “was in contact with gun stores” prior to her departure.

Pais was found with a self-inflicted gunshot wound, Jefferson County Sheriff Jeff Shrader said during a separate press conference.

Clear Creek County Sheriff Rick Albers told the Denver Post that Pais was found dead on a trail about a half mile from a lodge at the base of Mount Evans at 10:50 a.m. local time. A shotgun was located nearby, Albers said.

The FBI announced her death in a tweet.

Earlier this week, the FBI said Pais made “credible threats” against Denver-area schools four days before the 20th anniversary of the Columbine shooting, prompting schools in the metro area to close.

According to police, Pais flew from Miami to Colorado on Monday night and bought a pump-action shotgun and ammunition in Littleton, Colo., not far from the school. She was considered armed and “extremely dangerous” and had last been seen in the foothills of Jefferson County.

Authorities said they believe she had been using a ride-sharing service in Colorado, and they don't believe she ever made it onto school property.

SWAT officers walk out of the woods near Echo Lake Campground in Arapaho National Forest after finding the body of Sol Pais on Wednesday. (Photo: RJ Sangosti/Denver Post)

Jefferson County school officials say the district receives threats around the anniversary of Columbine every year.

"The shadow of Columbine looms pretty large," said John McDonald, executive director of school safety for Jefferson County. "When this threat came in — we're used to threats, frankly, at Columbine. This one felt different."

According to NBC News, Pais appears to have kept an online journal that included drawings of one of the Columbine gunmen, Dylan Klebold, and alluded to "plans" she had been making.

These undated photos released by the Jefferson County sheriff's office in Colorado show Sol Pais. (Jefferson County Sheriff's Office via AP)

"Because of her comments and her actions, because of her travel here to the state, because of her procurement of a weapon immediately upon arriving here, we considered her to be a credible threat — certainly to the community and potentially to schools," Dean Phillips, FBI special agent in charge of the Denver field office, said at a press conference on Tuesday.

More than 20 schools were placed on lockout.

A student leaves Columbine High School in Littleton, Colo., after a lockdown on Tuesday. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

The April 20, 1999, shootings at Columbine High School left 12 students and a teacher dead. A weekend memorial service marking the 20th anniversary of the massacre will go on as planned.

But McDonald discouraged people who want to make any "pilgrimage" to the school itself.

"Columbine continues to attract people from around the world," he said. "We're not a place to come visit if you're not a student. We're not a tourist attraction. And we're not a place for you to come and gain inspiration."


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