BY DAVID OVALLE AND MARTIN VASSOLO
MIAMI – Sol Pais, the 18-year-old Miami Beach High student who traveled to Colorado, bought a shotgun and threatened violence against schools, has died of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound, police said Wednesday (April 17).
The FBI had said Pais was “armed and dangerous” and believed to be somewhere in Colorado after making “credible” threats days before the 20th anniversary of the Columbine High massacre that ushered in the modern era of mass shootings at U.S. schools.
Jefferson County Sheriff Jeff Shrader confirmed at an afternoon news conference that Pais was dead.
Local media reports said Pais took an Uber to an area near the Echo Lake Lodge at the base of Mount Evans in Clear Creek County, Colo. The station said that police officers rushed to the scene after reports of a naked woman with a gun running through the woods.
The Denver office of the FBI tweeted: “THERE IS NO LONGER A THREAT TO THE COMMUNITY.”
‘DEEPLY DISTURBED’ POSTS
Schools in Denver were shut down Wednesday because of the threats.
Pais lived in Surfside, a small oceanside community just north of Miami Beach. Her parents reported her missing on Monday night. Surfside officers turned the case over to Miami Beach police detectives, who found her “deeply disturbed” online postings and immediately notified the FBI, according to a law enforcement source.
Agents and officers quickly realized Pais had boarded a plane to Colorado, and purchased a weapon there. Miami FBI agents on Tuesday night visited Pais’ home.
A man who answered the door identified himself as her father and said he lost contact with Pais the night before.
“I think maybe she’s got a mental problem,” he said. “I think she’s gonna be OK.”
On Wednesday afternoon, as news spread of Pais’ death, Surfside officers cordoned off the home as Police Chief Julio Yero and FBI agents were inside with the teen’s family.
The threats came four days before the 20th anniversary of the Columbine High April 20, 1999, mass shooting. Two seniors at the school, Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold, opened fire and killed 13 people — 12 students and one teacher — before killing themselves.
Security around Colorado schools had already been ramped up this year because of the constant stream of threats related to the anniversary. The Columbine killers have become a much-studied fascination for some disaffected teenagers and others who go on to become mass shooters.
Pais may have been one of them. Somebody who identified herself as “Sol Pais” ran an online blog replete with journal entries dripping with angst and drawings of guns. “I am the face of loneliness and misery,” the blog says.
She may also be behind a series of posts on the National Gun Forum, using the same screen name as the blog.
In the posts, the person asked for advice on how to buy a shotgun in Colorado. “The problem is i have no friends in FL who are into guns like me so it’s not as fun having to do all of this alone,” according to one post.