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Suspect found in Denver-area hunt for potential threat to schools: what we know

A suspect with an “infatuation” with the Columbine school shooting was reportedly found dead.

A student leaves Columbine High School late Tuesday, April 16, 2019, in Littleton, Colorado. Following a lockdown at Columbine High School and other Denver area schools, authorities say they are looking for a woman suspected of making threats.
A student leaves Columbine High School late Tuesday, April 16, 2019, in Littleton, Colorado. Following a lockdown at Columbine High School and other Denver area schools, authorities say they are looking for a woman suspected of making threats.
David Zalubowski/AP

As of Wednesday night, this article is no longer being updated. For continuing coverage on gun violence, check out Vox’s gun violence section.

Denver-area schools were closed on Wednesday as authorities searched for an “armed and dangerous” woman who reportedly had an “infatuation” with the 1999 Columbine High School shooting in Colorado. But multiple news outlets later reported that the suspect was found dead.

The woman, identified as 18-year-old Sol Pais, reportedly flew from Miami to Denver and legally bought a pump-action shotgun and ammunition, FBI agent Dean Phillips said. She had allegedly “made some concerning comments in the past” and had an “infatuation” with both the Columbine shooting and the two shooters, who killed 13 people and themselves. The 20th anniversary of the shooting is on Saturday.

In response to the reports, more than a dozen school districts closed. The University of Denver was on lockout, which is less serious than a lockdown.

The situation is still developing. Here’s what we know, and don’t.

What we know

  • Sol Pais, an 18-year-old white woman, allegedly flew from Miami to Denver and legally purchased a pump-action shotgun and some ammo. Due to her past alleged comments over Columbine, including a purported “infatuation” with the shooting and shooters, the authorities were looking for her, FBI agent Dean Phillips told media, according to NPR.
  • The suspect was on Wednesday reportedly found, and is dead from an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound, the New York Times, Washington Post and local news outlets reported. The Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office tweeted, “THERE IS NO LONGER A THREAT TO THE COMMUNITY!”
  • Police didn’t know of a specific threat to any one place, but Phillips said it was a “credible threat certainly to the community and potentially to schools.” Officials claimed she was on a “pilgrimage” to Columbine.
  • In response, Denver Public Schools, Jefferson County Public Schools (including Columbine High School), and more than a dozen other school districts in the area closed, according to Colorado Public Radio.
  • The University of Denver tweeted, “DU is on normal schedule today. Out of abundance of caution, all campus buildings are on lock out. You will need your DU ID card to access buildings.”
  • Pais, however, was not charged with a crime.
  • In 2019 so far, there have been nearly 90 mass shootings in the US, killing more than 110 people and wounding more than 300.

What we don’t know

  • Whether the suspect intended to do anything illegal
  • Whether the suspect planned to target a certain school
  • The full evidence police have against the suspect

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