Sol Pais, the 18-year-old who made threats against several Colorado high schools ahead of the 20th anniversary of the Columbine High School shooting, is dead, following an FBI manhunt.
Denver’s CBS affiliate reports that Pais was found with a self-inflicted gunshot wound near Mount Evans in Clear Creek County where a law enforcement source confirmed Pais’ death.
Pais, who was allegedly “infatuated” with the Columbine attack, was a high school student at Miami Beach Senior High School in Florida. She was reported missing by her parents her on Monday, when she allegedly flew to Denver and purchased a shotgun and ammunition. Schools across Colorado’s Front Range cancelled classes on Wednesday after the FBI received a tip from agents in Miami that Pais posed a possible threat.
Speaking at a news conference on Tuesday night, Dean Phillips, the agent in charge of the FBI’s office in Denver, said that Pais’ “comments, her actions that we have heard about from others, tend to cause us great concern that she may pose a threat to a school.” A man identifying himself as Pais’s father answered the door for reporters on Tuesday night in Miami. He encouraged his daughter to return home and said, “I think maybe she’s got a mental problem.”
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.— FBI Denver (@FBIDenver) April 17, 2019
Colorado’s governor recently signed a “red flag” law that would allow guns to be temporarily seized from people who posed a threat to themselves or others, despite opposition from more than a dozen sheriffs in the state. Colorado does not have a mandatory waiting period for gun purchases.
The aftermath of 1999’s attacks at Columbine High School were widely televised and live on in the public consciousness. School shooters in Santa Fe, Connecticut, and Virginia Tech all reportedly took inspiration from the two Columbine killers. They have achieved a “folk hero status” online among followers known as Columbiners.
As active shooter drillers and armed guards have become commonplace across American high schools, some survivors are dismayed by the lack of legislative and societal progress made towards issues of mental illness and gun reform since the attack.
“We are so unwilling to actually make meaningful progress on eradicating the issue,” Columbine survivor Austin Eubanks recently told the Associated Press. “So we’re just going to focus on teaching kids to hide better, regardless of the emotional impact that that bears on their life. To me, that’s pretty sad.”