Colorado schools reopen as FBI examines teen suspect’s past
LITTLETON, Colo. (AP) — The suicide of a Florida teenager who authorities say was obsessed with the Columbine shooting and may have planned to carry out her own attack will not end an investigation to determine if she had any accomplices, officials said as Denver schools reopened Thursday and preparations to mark the 20th anniversary of the tragedy resumed.
The body of 18-year-old Sol Pais was discovered Wednesday in the mountains outside Denver with what appeared to be a self-inflicted gunshot wound after investigators got a tip from a driver who took her there, the FBI said.
Dozens of schools that closed as a precaution during the daylong manhunt reopened their doors with heightened security measures. Events planned to mark the anniversary of the 1999 Columbine attack will go on as scheduled throughout the week, starting with a church service Thursday night and culminating with a ceremony near the school on Saturday.
Two teenagers attacked Columbine on April 20, 1999, killing 12 classmates and a teacher before taking their own lives. They have inspired cult-like admirers, some of whom committed other mass shootings over the decades.
A growing “no notoriety” movement has urged news organizations to avoid naming the perpetrators of mass shootings to deprive them of the notoriety they seek.
The details of Pais’ travel from Florida to Colorado began to emerge Wednesday along with some classmates’ confusion about her involvement. The Miami Beach High School student dressed in black and kept mostly to herself, said Adam Charni, a senior at the school.
He said he was “baffled” to learn Pais was the person authorities in Colorado were seeking. Another classmate, 17-year-old Drew Burnstine, described Pais as quiet and smart.
Dean Phillips, FBI agent in charge in Denver, said Pais had made troubling remarks to others about her “infatuation” with the assault at Columbine and its anniversary. He did not elaborate.
Investigators will try to learn more from Pais’ social media and other online activity, largely to ensure that she had no accessories or accomplices, Phillips said. He confirmed the material being scrutinized includes a blog containing hand-written journal entries that occasionally feature sketches of guns or people holding large firearms.
In Pais’ hometown of Surfside, Police Chief Julio Yero asked that the family be given “privacy and a little time to grieve.” Pais’ parents had reported her missing on Monday night, police said.