Eagle County Schools lockout over, Colorado manhunt ends | VailDaily.com

Eagle County Schools lockout over, Colorado manhunt ends

Woman obsessed with Columbine found dead by FBI

Sol Pais
Jefferson County Sheriff’s Department

EAGLE COUNTY — Everything is back to normal at Eagle County Schools after a lockout was called off Wednesday following the conclusion of a state-wide manhunt for an 18-year-old Florida woman.

The woman, sought by the FBI for posing a threat to metro Denver schools, fled the Front Range and headed west into the mountains. She died late Wednesday morning near the base of Mount Evans.

“There is no longer a threat to the community,” the FBI said in a social media post around 11 a.m. Wednesday.

Sol Pais flew to Colorado from Florida, where she was a student at Florida’s Miami Beach High School. She reportedly acquired a gun after she arrived in Colorado and posed “a credible threat” according to the FBI and other law enforcement agencies.

Pais’ behavior became more and more suspect as the 20th anniversary of the April 20, 1999, Columbine school shooting neared.

Several metro area schools were on lockdown Tuesday afternoon and canceled classes Wednesday.

Local lockout

Eagle County schools responded with a lockout Wednesday morning, even though no one had threatened local schools, the school district said in a message to parents.

“There is not a direct, credible threat to rural schools,” the Eagle County school district said in that message.

However, out of “an abundance of caution” and following the advice of local law enforcement, local schools operated on a lockout basis, the school district said.

“Lockout” means school continues normally inside buildings, but no one is allowed inside who is not identified as an emergency contact with identification, the school district said. It is different than a lockdown.

Local law enforcement raised their profile, especially around school buildings, Eagle County Sheriff James Van Beek said.

“When metro area agencies determined that she was in that area, we worked with the school district to make this action,” Van Beek said.

Local law enforcement pulled their patrols into areas around local schools.

“We had the potential for a threat, so our focus was on local schools,” Van Beek said.

While keeping a close eye on schools and students, they tried not to interfere.

“We want things to be as normal as possible,” Van Beek said.

Back to normal

After the FBI announced that Pais was “no longer a threat to the community,” Eagle County schools went back to normal.

“We’re notifying all staff and parents that the lockouts have been lifted and our operations will resume as normal,” Dan Dougherty, the school district’s communications chief, said late Wednesday morning.

About the threats to Denver schools

The FBI said Pais was “considered to be extremely dangerous” and “made threats to commit an act of violence in the Denver metropolitan area” just days before the 20th anniversary of the Columbine attack, which left 15 dead, including the two shooters.

Denver-area schools tightened security because the threat was deemed “credible and general,” the Colorado Department of Public Safety’s Patricia Billinger said.