Woman who spurred metro Denver school shutdowns found dead

Sol Pais, 18, died by suicide in Mount Evans area, police say


A Florida woman whose behavior spurred a massive shutdown of Denver-area schools died by suicide near Mount Evans in Clear Creek County, officials said on April 17.

Sol Pais, 18, traveled from Florida to Colorado on April 15, FBI Special Agent Dean Phillips said in a news conference.

Phillips described Pais as "infatuated" with the 1999 Columbine High School killers.

Authorities were not aware that Pais planned to target any specific school for an attack, but said they grew concerned based on a combination of actions, comments to acquaintances and online postings, and the timing with the 20th anniversary of the shooting drawing near, Phillips said.

Pais bought three one-way tickets to Denver, Phillips said, for April 15, 16 and 17, and took the first of the three flights.

Pais “immediately” went to a gun store upon arrival, Phillips said.

Though officials did not name the gun store, a Facebook post by Colorado Gun Broker on West Bowles Avenue in south Jefferson County said Pais purchased a shotgun there.

“We had no reason to suspect she was a threat to either herself or anyone else,” according to the post, which is attributed to store owner Josh Rayburn.

The store is less than two miles from Columbine High School.

From there, Pais was dropped off in the Mount Evans area by a driver in a “for-rent vehicle,” Phillips said.

“We don't know why that was the location of her choosing,” Phillips said.

The driver told agents she might be in the area, Phillips said, but were waiting for daybreak to begin a search.

FBI agents and Clear Creek County Sheriff's deputies discovered Pais's body in the Mount Evans area about 10:30 a.m. on April 17, Phillips said. She appears to have died by a self-inflicted gunshot wound, he said.

Colorado authorities were first alerted to Pais' actions by FBI agents in Miami on April 16, Phillips said.

People in Florida contacted local police after noticing Pais had disappeared, Phillips said. Local police in turn notified the FBI's Miami field office, who notified Denver agents.

Denver FBI officials didn't become aware of Pais until after she had procured the shotgun, Phillips said.

Pais' presence kicked off a massive manhunt on April 16 and 17, prompting most of the Denver metro area's school districts to cancel classes on April 17. Most schools were expected to resume classes as normal on April 18.

Phillips declined to comment on Pais' mental health or social media activity. The investigation into Pais's death is ongoing, Phillips said, and will examine whether she acted alone.

Asked by a reporter what he would say to parents who called the school shutdowns an overreaction, Phillips said, “As a parent, I would say thank you to the school system for protecting my child.”


Sol Pais, Columbine, Denver, FBI, David Gilbert


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