Surfside woman accused of making Columbine threats found dead in Colorado

Report: Sol Pais told shop owner she was buying shotgun to go turkey hunting

By Todd Tongen - Anchor/Reporter, Janine Stanwood - Anchor/Reporter, Ian Margol - Reporter, Associated Press

SURFSIDE, Fla. - An 18-year-old South Florida woman suspected of making threats against Columbine High School was found dead of a self-inflicted gunshot wound Wednesday.

The FBI confirmed the body of Sol Pais was found at a campsite in Mount Evans, which is operated by the National Forest Service. KMGH reports the weapon was a shotgun purchased in Colorado.

The gun shop owner who sold Pais the weapon and ammunition told reporters the teen told him she was going turkey hunting.  

Pais was accused of making threats just days before the 20th anniversary of a mass shooting that killed 13 people.

The information prompted a lockdown at the high school and several others outside Denver. All students were safe, school officials said.

The doors were locked at Columbine and more than 20 other schools in the Denver area as the sheriff's office said it was investigating threats against schools.

Students left classes on time, but after-school activities were canceled at Columbine in Littleton, Colorado.

Teenage gunmen attacked Columbine on April 20, 1999, killing 12 classmates and a teacher.

Schools throughout the area were ordered closed Wednesday before Pais' body was found. 

Pais traveled to Colorado on Monday night and made threats against the schools, the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office and the FBI said. The FBI in Denver won't say what types of threats she allegedly made, but that she was "infatuated" with Columbine. 

An unidentified FBI Miami agent answered the door Tuesday afternoon, but would not disclose details of the visit. 

"So we're in the middle of an interview, so we're just kind of dealing with the family right now," he said. 

Tuesday night, a man who identified himself as Pais' father, told news crews through the front door that he last saw Pais on Sunday. He said the ordeal has "been a nightmare."

Pais' next-door neighbors said they're shocked. 

"Last night, I saw two police cruisers parked there," neighbor Joe Bilstein said. "This morning, there were two empty -- no police officers there." 

Bilstein's wife, Patricia, said she worked at Bay Harbor Elementary and Middle School where Pais was a student. 

"She always was keeping to herself. She never [got] in trouble," she said. 

 

 

Another neighbor, who did not want to be identified, said her children attended Miami Beach High School with Pais. 

"It didn't seem like she wanted to hurt anybody, so just hearing this, it's a shock," one student, Jade Leeyee, told Local 10 News on Wednesday.

Students described Pais as a loner.

"She was very quiet, always wearing black, never talking, always by herself," student Ilan Drai said. 

All students who spoke to Local 10 News said they were shocked that Pais was accused of making threats to the schools in Colorado.

"I didn't believe it. I don't understand, like, it's complicated. She's so quiet. How would someone so quiet be like that?" student Brandon Boissard said. 

"It's a shock. You think that someone is a really good person and then, all of the sudden, it's like, wow, this happened and you don't think that person was capable of doing something like this," Leeyee said.

Miami-Dade County Public Schools Superintendent Alberto Carvalho showed up to the school Wednesday to speak with students and announced that mental health counselors and the district's crisis team would be deployed at the school.

He said the school district would remain on high alert through the end of the week.  

Before her body was found, authorities said Pais had last been seen in the foothills west of Denver and was considered armed and extremely dangerous.

Surfside Police Chief Julio Yero said the teen's family is grieving, but were helpful during the investigation.

"They provided us valuable information that lead us to Colorado, and a lot of things that assisted in preventing maybe more loss of life," Yero said. "Everybody was working very hard at preventing additional loss of life. The outcome (of) Ms. Pais taking her own life is a tragedy in and of itself."

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