Schools across Denver are closed Wednesday as a manhunt continues for an 18-year-old Florida woman police said is “infatuated with Columbine,” armed, and reportedly behind a number of threats to area institutions just days before the 20th anniversary of the deadly Columbine massacre.
In a statement posted to the Denver Public Schools website, officials said the decision to close schools for the day “was based on information provided by law enforcement and analysis provided by threat assessment experts.”
The statement continues: “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.”
According to the Denver Post, that person is Sol Pais, who reportedly flew from Florida to Colorado on Monday and purchased a shotgun and ammunition shortly after landing. On Facebook, the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office wrote Pais “is armed and considered to be extremely dangerous” and hasn’t been seen since shortly after she landed in Denver.
“This has become a massive manhunt,” Dean Phillips, special agent in charge of the FBI’s Denver office, said at a press conference on Tuesday. In its press release, Denver Public Schools emphasized that “there has been no threat to any specific school, nor do they have any information related to any specific danger in DPS.”
Phillips also described Pais as someone who has “made some concerning comments in the past,” and the FBI’s Rocky Mountain Safe Streets Task Force described her on Tuesday as “infatuated with [the] Columbine school shooting.”
The massive search comes just days before Saturday’s 20th anniversary of the 1999 Columbine school shooting, which left 12 students and a teacher dead, and became a flashpoint in the national debate over guns and school safety in America.
Update, 12:50 p.m. ET: Police have announced they’ve found Pais, with one law enforcement official telling NBC news she is dead.