Update: Sol Pais has been reported to have died. Get more information in our post "Columbine Threat Suspect Sol Pais Reportedly Dead." Continue for our previous coverage.
A large-scale search is under way for Sol Pais, the eighteen-year-old Florida woman who allegedly traveled to Colorado because of her obsession with the April 20, 1999, Columbine massacre and purchased a shotgun upon her arrival, prompting the closure of schools in sixteen Denver-area districts on April 17.
Thus far, the information that's surfaced about Pais is sketchy at best, and the way details of unknown authenticity are flying around the web calls to mind the scramble to learn more about the Columbine gunmen in the hours and days after they killed twelve students and a teacher before taking their own lives.
A case in point is a website that Internet sources claim was created by Pais. Because we've been unable to independently confirm its authenticity, we're not including the link. But its material, summarized in a Heavy.com roundup, contains plenty of elements sure to further copycat theories, including an "About Me" section that boasts the line "in this tiresome reality that i do not belong in, i take the form of Sol"; references to lots of ’90s-era music (including lyrics to a Nine Inch Nails song); and screen captures of handwritten spiral notebook pages filled with violent statements and ghoulish drawings that recall the journal entries of the Columbine killers released years after the attack.
More reliable info is provided by the BOLO (Be on the Lookout) issued by law enforcement agencies in regard to Pais.
The image, seen below, includes Pais's date of birth (February 1, 2001) and the following text: "Subject infatuated with Columbine school shooting. Believed to be in the Denver-Littleton area. She is attempting to buy firearms and considered armed and dangerous.... If contacted detain and evaluate mental health status then contact Det. Gilbert immediately."
Note the line in red: "No PC to Arrest." This sentence fragment means there's no probable cause to indicate that Pais has committed a crime. She is said to have legally purchased a shotgun and ammunition from a Littleton retailer.
While the State of Colorado requires that purchasers of firearms submit to a background check, the process typically takes about fifteen minutes.
Thus far, no social-media pages associated with Pais have been found. Records indicate that she's from Surfside, a community in Miami-Dade County with a 2010 population of 5,744. According to Local 10, a TV station in Florida, she attended Bay Harbor Elementary and Middle School and Miami Beach High School.
Last night, April 16, a news crew approached the home Pais is believed to share with her family, and a man who identified himself as her father said through the door that he had last seen his daughter on Sunday, April 14. He added that what's taken place has "been a nightmare."
FBI agents were also on the scene, but one who spoke to a station representative would only say, "We're in the middle of an interview, so we're just kind of dealing with the family right now."
Her father indicated to a Miami Herald reporter that Pais may have "mental problems."
The Jefferson County Sheriff's Office describes Pais as a 5' 5" white female with brown hair who was last seen in the Jeffco foothills wearing a black T-shirt, camouflage pants and black boots.
Anyone with information about Pais is encouraged to phone the FBI tipline at 303-630-6227.
Keep Westword Free... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Denver with no paywalls.