U.S.|Lots of of Denver Faculties Are Closed as F.B.I. Seeks Girl ‘Infatuated’ With Columbine
DENVER — Lots of of colleges throughout the Denver space have been closed on Wednesday as regulation enforcement officers engaged in an enormous seek for a Florida girl who they stated had made threats forward of the 20th anniversary of the Columbine Excessive College taking pictures and was thought of armed and “extraordinarily harmful.”
The choice to maintain about half 1,000,000 college students dwelling in two dozen college districts over an enormous swath of Colorado confirmed the sense of alarm among the many authorities. An F.B.I. bulletin despatched to native regulation enforcement businesses on Tuesday recognized the lady as Sol Pais, 18. She was “infatuated” with the Columbine assault, the bulletin stated, and had been “making an attempt to purchase firearms.”
Officers additionally launched a picture of Ms. Pais, and stated she was roughly 5-foot-5, with brown hair. She had lately traveled to Colorado, they stated.
Ms. Pais’ mother and father reported her lacking to native police on Monday, Detective Sergeant Marian Cruz, a spokeswoman for the Surfside Police Division, stated on Wednesday. That has been the one time police have been referred to as to the household’s handle, she added.
Daisy Gonzalez-Diego, a spokeswoman for the Miami-Dade County Public Faculties, confirmed on Wednesday that Ms. Pais is a pupil at Miami Seaside Senior Excessive College. The varsity district is helping the F.B.I. with its investigation, Ms. Gonzalez-Diego stated.
In a information convention Tuesday evening, Dean Phillips, the particular agent answerable for the F.B.I.’s workplace in Denver, stated the search had changed into a “huge manhunt.” Mr. Phillips stated his staff had acquired a tip that morning from federal brokers in Miami figuring out Ms. Pais as a doable risk in Colorado.
The F.B.I. then found that Ms. Pais had arrived on the Denver airport earlier than shopping for a pump-action shotgun and ammunition at a retailer. “She was then taken to an space the place she was final seen out towards the foothills,” Mr. Phillips stated.
“Her feedback, her actions that we’ve heard about from others are likely to trigger us nice concern that she could pose a risk to a faculty,” he added.
If authorities discover Ms. Pais, it’s not clear if they will arrest her. The bulletin despatched to native police stated they didn’t have possible trigger for arrest, however that officers ought to detain her “and consider psychological well being standing.”
In Florida, The Miami Herald reported man who answered the door at Ms. Pais’s handle on Tuesday recognized himself as her father and stated he had misplaced contact together with her on Sunday. “I believe perhaps she’s received a psychological downside,” he informed The Herald. “I believe she’s going to be O.Okay.”
In Colorado, the announcement prompted “lockouts,” or heightened safety measures, at colleges in Jefferson County and the encompassing space. Throughout a lockout, all exterior doorways are locked at a faculty however enterprise continues as common inside. Cops aided in end-of-day pupil launch. County officers stated that each one college students and employees members have been protected.
In the course of the Columbine Excessive College taking pictures, on April 20, 1999, two college students shot and killed 12 of their classmates and a instructor.
The taking pictures’s aftermath was broadly televised, and the occasion grew to become a supply of inspiration for future attackers. Jefferson County, dwelling to Columbine Excessive College, has spent the previous 20 years grappling with that legacy.
College students, lecturers, households and regulation enforcement officers have needed to deal not solely with the emotional trauma of the taking pictures, but additionally with individuals who have develop into obsessive about it, in addition to copycats who’ve carried out their very own assaults.
In an interview final 12 months, the top of security for Jefferson County colleges, John McDonald, stated he had typically apprehended individuals who got here from across the nation to attempt to enter the college, a serious security concern. These visits — and curiosity within the taking pictures — have solely elevated over time, he stated: “I’ve been coping with this for greater than a decade and it’s by no means been extra of a problem than it’s now, 20 years later.”
The approaching anniversary has put many individuals within the area on edge, and within the final week, the county has carried out lockouts on a number of days.
Patricia Mazzei contributed reporting.
Comply with Julie Turkewitz on Twitter @julieturkewitz.