IDAHO SPRINGS – Law enforcement officials confirmed Sol Pais, the Florida woman who was reportedly “infatuated” with the Columbine attack, died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
Clear Creek County Sheriff Rick Albers said tips from the community and the FBI helped them locate Pais’ body near the Echo Lake campground a little before 10 a.m. Wednesday.
Albers said investigators arrived on scene around 9 a.m. and it took a little less than an hour before they found her approximately a half mile from the parking lot at the Echo Lake Lodge.
He said she was alone and was located away from trails in a wooded area. Investigators believed she walked to the spot where she was found dead.
It’s not clear how long she was dead before authorities found her.
In a press conference, FBI officials revealed Pais purchased three one-way plane tickets to Denver for April 15, 16, and 17. Pais flew to Denver International Airport on Monday, April 15.
Pais, 18, was a high school senior at Miami Beach High School and lived in the small community of Surfside, Fla. Authorities called her “extremely dangerous” after she flew from Miami to Denver Monday and shortly after landing, purchased a pump-action shotgun and ammunition from a gun shop in the Littleton area, which is near Columbine High School.
The FBI also mentioned Pais had been in contact with gun stores in Colorado prior to leaving Florida but the FBI did not deem her as a credible threat to the Denver-metro area until she bought the shotgun and ammo.
Authorities said Pais was last seen on Monday not far from Columbine – in the Jefferson County foothills outside Denver – in a black T-shirt, camouflage pants and black boots. According to the FBI officials, Pais was dropped off by a “for-rent” car near the area where her body was later discovered.
Even with the suspect deceased, authorities indicated the investigation is far from over. Investigators will continue to follow up on every lead and comb through Pais’s social media and other online accounts to ensure she was not working with an accomplice.
Surfside Police Chief Julio Yero said in a news conference that Pais’ family is “grateful” nobody else was hurt. Yero said her family cooperated and provided valuable information to investigators.
He also said collaboration between law enforcement agencies could have prevented tragedy.
All major school districts in the Denver Metro area canceled classes Wednesday as a precaution while authorities searched for the woman.
Jefferson County Public Schools said students will see heightened security at Columbine High School Thursday. The district declined to provide specifics about those precautions in a news conference Wednesday morning.
This is a developing story and will be updated as we confirm more information.