Sol Pais, the eighteen-year-old Florida woman whose alleged "infatuation" with the April 20, 1999, attack on Columbine High School led to the closure of schools in sixteen Denver-area districts today, April 17, is dead, the FBI office in Denver has confirmed.
At 10:19 a.m., CBS4 reporter Anica Padilla tweeted the following: "Sol Pais has been captured near the Echo Lake Lodge at the base of Mount Evans in Clear Creek County." Then, at 10:38 a.m., she followed with this: "Sol Pais is dead, investigators confirm."
At 10:44 a.m., the FBI stated on its Twitter account that "there is no longer a threat to the community," adding, "More information to follow shortly." At 11:30 a.m., a second message reported, "We can confirm that Sol Pais is deceased. We are grateful to everyone who submitted tips and to all our law enforcement partners for their efforts in keeping our community safe."
CBS4 noted that a SWAT team and a Clear Creek County snowcat near the Echo Lake Campground in Arapaho National Forest were involved in the search for Pais, who is said to have purchased a shotgun from Colorado Gun Broker, a business located at 8966 West Bowles, just 1.7 miles, or a five-minute drive, from Columbine. As a result, she was considered armed and dangerous.
Law enforcement subsequently confirmed that Pais died from a self-inflicted gunshot.
At a 2 p.m. press conference, FBI Special Agent in Charge Dean Phillips revealed that the bureau began tracking Pais because of her online postings, assorted statements and actions, including buying three one-way tickets from Miami to Denver for Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday of this week. Her purchase of the shotgun increased the urgency of the inquiry and led to the cancellation of classes at approximately 1,000 schools in sixteen Denver-area districts on Wednesday, April 17.
Among the places law enforcers canvassed in their search for Pais was the Echo Lake area. Pais's body was found near a hiking trail a half-mile walk from the lodge.
The investigation into Pais will continue in an effort to determine if anyone else was involved, and a website festooned with disturbing drawings and commentary that had been publicly associated with Pais will be analyzed, according to law enforcement authorities. In the meantime, Denver area schools will be open on April 18, with assorted districts promising increased security and scrutiny.
This post has been updated with information from the FBI's April 17 press conference and other developments that arose over the course of the day.
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