Denver area schools shut as police hunt armed woman 'infatuated' with Columbine

Cheryl Sanders
April 17, 2019

She made "credible" - but unspecific - threats after traveling from Miami to Denver on Monday night, and is considered risky, said Dean Phillips, the special agent in charge of the local Federal Bureau of Investigation office.

Authorities were investigating what appears to be a "credible threat" at Columbine High School and almost 20 other schools, the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office in Colorado said Tuesday.

In addition to Denver Public Schools, which serves almost 100 000 students across roughly 200 schools, numerous other school districts said they would not open on Wednesday as a precaution.

Authorities say tightened security at Columbine High School and about a dozen other Denver-area schools is related to an FBI investigation.

The Jefferson County Sheriff's Office said deputies were posted at the schools involved. Two threats were made to the school: One call said there was a bomb inside the building, and another said there was a person with a gun outside.

Pais is about 5-foot-5, has brown hair and was last seen in the foothills of Jefferson County wearing a black T-shirt, camouflage trousers and black boots, authorities said. They notified area schools that afternoon.

A Jeffco Public Schools spokesperson said several schools in the Columbine and mountain areas of the district were on lockout at 1 p.m. but said "everyone is safe".

"We too are taking this threat seriously", Aurora police said in a tweet.

She has not made any specific threats to any particular school, but her reported verbal comments to others made her a credible threat, Phillips said. The situation arose days ahead of the 20th anniversary of the deadly shooting that occurred there on April 20, 1999.

Almost 20 years ago, two students, Dylan Klebold, 17, and Eric Harris, 18, killed 12 students and one teacher in a mass shooting at Columbine. All after-school activities were to go on as scheduled, except at Columbine, where they were cancelled as a precaution, the district said.

Pais is thought to be obsessed with Columbine and recently flew to Colorado in a trip apparently timed to what Safe2Tell founder Susan Payne referred to in a post we published this morning as a "day of remembrance" for the April 20, 1999, attack, which killed twelve students and a teacher. The students walked to crosswalks and buses parked near the entrance.

Jefferson County Sheriff Jeff Shrader said, "I know this opens a wound, especially during this anniversary week".

The 20th anniversary of the shooting at Columbine will take place this Saturday.

The district has also seen an increase in threats and concerning messages, which often come in the form of emails to the school or phone calls to the 24-hour dispatch center run by the district's security team.

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