MIAMI — The father of a South Florida woman who was accused of making threats that prompted hundreds of schools to close Wednesday in the Denver metro begged his daughter to come home and turn herself in, according to the NBC station in Miami.
Sol Pais, 18, expressed infatuation with the Columbine school shooting and purchased a shotgun after traveling from her home in Surfside, Florida, to the Denver metro area earlier this week, according to FBI Denver Special Agent in Charge Dean Phillips.
She was found dead from a self-inflicted gunshot wound at the base of Mount Evans, law enforcement confirmed to 9Wants to Know.
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms confirmed to 9Wants to Know that Pais purchased the shotgun and ammunition legally near Littleton. Jefferson County Sheriff Jeff Shrader said at a press conference he thought she purchased the weapon near Columbine High but would not say where.
Colorado Gun Broker in Littleton told 9Wants to Know they sold the gun to Pais — the gun store said she passed a background check and that they "had no reason to suspect she was a threat to either herself or anyone else."
The FBI has since confirmed the gun was purchased on Monday -- before agents became concerned Pais was a potential threat.
The FBI office in Denver was first alerted to Pais on Tuesday morning from the FBI office in Miami. The Denver FBI office then started assessing the threat and determined it was credible. Local law enforcement was notified and they also began investigating.
Jefferson County, where Columbine High School is located, held a press conference with Shrader, Superintendent of Schools Dr. Jason G. Glass and Executive Director of JeffCo Schools Safety and Security John McDonald.
Also in attendance near the end was Frank DeAngelis, the principal at Columbine during the 1999 mass shooting. He said the gathered media that he was actually at the school when it was placed on lockout Tuesday.
He expressed his feeling that there were so many more safety procedures since his time at the school. He also began checking on the 15 or so staffers who were still at the school since the 1999 shooting.
McDonald said that since the Columbine shooting, there have been so many more procedures put in place to protect students.
"We've learned a lot of lessons," he said. "It's part of the learning, part of the training we do each and every day."
He also wanted to put out a message to anyone interested in Columbine and the shooting there.
"We are not a place to come visit if you are not a student," he said. "We are not a tourist attraction. We are not a place to come gain inspiration."
Shrader explained that law enforcement believed Pais was in the area alone and without help.
"One of the goals of public safety is not just to reduce crime," he explained near the tail end of the presser, "but reduce the fear of crime."
Wednesday afternoon in Surfside — the Florida town where Pais and her family lived — police held a press conference. Chief of Police Julio Yero told the gathered media that he was grateful to the local law enforcement agencies in Colorado that assisted with the investigation and both Miami and Denver's FBI offices.
"The collaboration probably prevented a tragedy in this situation," Yero said. He later amended his statement to say the collaboration likely prevented further tragedy and stressed that the loss of Pais' life is a tragedy.
He asked for privacy for Pais' family and thanked them for all their help.
"This family contributed greatly to this investigation from the very onset," he said.
NBC6 in Miami spoke with Pais' dad on Tuesday.
"It's like a bad dream," Pais' father told the station. "We don't know, we don't have any idea." He added he had not seen his daughter since Sunday.
Detectives were out investigating Pais’ home Tuesday evening. Miami-Dade County Public Schools confirmed that Pais attends Miami Beach High School.
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