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Wednesday, November 29, 2023

Denver Schools Shut Down Amid Manhunt for Armed Woman ‘Infatuated with Columbine’

UPDATE 2 p.m. EST: The suspect has been found dead of a self-inflicted gunshot wound in the Front Range of the Rocky Mountains, according to local media.

Most of the public schools in the Denver area closed today as police hunted for a young Florida woman said to be “infatuated with Columbine” who arrived in Colorado this week, with the FBI warning that the threat “is not isolated to one school or individual.”

Saturday is the 20th anniversary of the Columbine massacre, in which two high school seniors killed 12 classmates and one teacher.

“Superintendents from school districts across the Denver-metro area gathered for a call Tuesday night and collectively determined that the safest course of action will be to close schools Wednesday, April 17,” Denver Public Schools announced. “The decision was based on information provided by law enforcement and analysis provided by threat assessment experts. Based on the fact that the FBI have identified a person who represents a credible threat and her whereabouts are unknown at this time, the districts agreed that it was best to exercise extreme caution and close schools for the day.”

“We will continue to remain in contact with law enforcement to assess what further actions need to be taken,” the district added.

Sen. Michael Bennet (D-Colo.), former superintendent of the school district, tweeted that he’s “closely monitoring this threat toward Denver-area schools” and encouraged tips to the FBI.

The Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office tweeted of the “potential credible threat” that, on Monday night, Sol Pais “traveled to Colorado & made threats. She is armed & considered to be extremely dangerous.”

Pais, 18, of Surfside, Fla., was last seen wearing a black t-shirt, camouflage pants, and black boots, the sheriff’s office said, and “was last seen in the foothills of Jefferson County.”

“Please call the FBI tipline at (303) 630-6227 where your call will be answered immediately if you have seen this individual or have information on her whereabouts. Please do not approach her as she is considered armed and dangerous,” the sheriff added.

The FBI’s Denver field office tweeted that “we are operating out of an abundance of caution” and that “federal, state, and local law enforcement are working together to keep our community safe.”

Pais reportedly purchased a gun and ammunition after arriving in Colorado. The Miami Herald reported that she is a senior at Miami Beach High School and that the family, who indicated she may have a mental issue, lost contact with her Sunday.

“We’re looking for her everywhere,” Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office spokesman Mike Taplin said this morning. “We’re hoping to find her before any bad can be done. All the jurisdictions are working together and the FBI is the lead agency.”

Bridget Johnson
Bridget Johnson
Bridget Johnson is the Managing Editor for Homeland Security Today. A veteran journalist whose news articles and analyses have run in dozens of news outlets across the globe, Bridget first came to Washington to be online editor and a foreign policy writer at The Hill. Previously she was an editorial board member at the Rocky Mountain News and syndicated nation/world news columnist at the Los Angeles Daily News. Bridget is a terrorism analyst and security consultant with a specialty in online open-source extremist propaganda, incitement, recruitment, and training. She hosts and presents in Homeland Security Today law enforcement training webinars studying a range of counterterrorism topics including conspiracy theory extremism, complex coordinated attacks, critical infrastructure attacks, arson terrorism, drone and venue threats, antisemitism and white supremacists, anti-government extremism, and WMD threats. She is a Senior Risk Analyst for Gate 15 and a private investigator. Bridget is an NPR on-air contributor and has contributed to USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, New York Observer, National Review Online, Politico, New York Daily News, The Jerusalem Post, The Hill, Washington Times, RealClearWorld and more, and has myriad television and radio credits including Al-Jazeera, BBC and SiriusXM.

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