Denver Area Schools Closed Today Due To Massive FBI Manhunt And 'Credible Threat'

by Valerie Williams
Originally Published: 
Image via Jeffco Sheriff via Twitter

A “massive” manhunt is underway in Denver for an 18-year-old woman said to be “infatuated” with the Columbine school shootings

Over a dozen Denver-area school districts are closed today after FBI and local law enforcement warned of an “armed and dangerous” woman in the area who’s said to be “infatuated” with the horrific 1999 Columbine school shooting.

Eighteen-year-old Sol Pais flew to Denver from Miami yesterday and was able to “immediately” buy a pump action shotgun and ammunition, according to FBI Denver Special Agent In Charge Dean Phillips. Phillips told reporters that the teen had “made some concerning comments in the past” and was “infatuated” with both the Columbine shooting and shooters. She was last seen in the foothills of Jefferson County, near the Denver metro area — and the FBI is asking for help in locating her.

The Jefferson County Sheriff’s department tweeted out information about Pais to help identify her. She’s “a white female, 18 years old, approximately 5’5″ in height, with brown hair. She was last seen wearing a black t-shirt, camouflage pants, and black boots.”

Phillips went on to explain that law enforcement hasn’t received a specific threat to any one school but felt it was a “credible threat certainly to the community and potentially to schools.” He says the search for Pais “has become a massive manhunt.”

What makes the threat even more chilling is that the 20th anniversary of the shooting at Columbine is this Saturday. The attack ended in the loss of 12 students and one teacher. The shooters also ended their own lives in the school library after the massacre.

According to CNN, Denver Public Schools will be closed today. Jefferson County Public Schools are also closed, and Columbine is part of that district. A total of 20 districts have also closed for today.

As of last night, Pais hasn’t been charged with a crime but the FBI and local law enforcement are working with federal and local prosecutors to bring charges against her. Phillips says whenever the woman is located, “we will certainly hold her for as long as we can legally.”

Columbine and other Jefferson County schools were placed on a lockout yesterday, with classes continuing but entries and exits to buildings being restricted. Jefferson County Sheriff Jeff Shrader tells reporters that threats of this nature are taken seriously. He also notes that this isn’t the first threat to Columbine since the 1999 shooting, but that the timing of Pais’ threat in particular is hard with the 20-year mark of the massacre coming up soon. “I know that this opens a wound especially on an anniversary week,” he says.

In the years since Columbine, the school has developed “likely the most sophisticated school security system in the country,” according to The Washington Post. But all the advanced security measures in the world can’t make it easy for a town that’s already been through so much to cope with the threat of it possibly happening all over again.

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