The Slatest

Credible Threat Causes Lockout at Columbine High School Days Before School Shooting Anniversary

Students arrive for class at Columbine High School on March 14, 2018.
Students arrive for class at Columbine High School on March 14, 2018.
Rick Wilking/Reuters

Just days before the 20th anniversary of the Columbine school shooting, what police described as a “credible threat” to the school sent a scare through the community and prompted school officials to increase security measures across dozens of schools in the greater Denver area. The FBI issued a public alert Tuesday afternoon to solicit help in tracking down the cause of that threat, 18-year-old female Sol Pais, whom authorities say is “infatuated with (the) Columbine school shooting,” recently traveled to the area, and is considered “armed’ and “extremely dangerous.” The five-foot-five white woman with brown hair was last seen in the county’s foothills of the Rocky Mountains wearing camouflage pants, black boots, and a black T-shirt.

Columbine High School and more than 20 other schools across Denver’s Jefferson County, which encompasses the western flank and suburbs of the city were put on “lockout” in response to reports that Pais was in the area and attempting to buy firearms. “Less serious than a lockdown, a lockout means that activity inside the schools will continue as scheduled, but entry and exit is restricted,” the Denver Post reports. “A bulletin sent to local police said authorities do not have probable cause to arrest Pais, but that she should be detained for a mental-health evaluation.” The Colorado Department of Education issued a recommendation that all schools in the Denver metropolitan area undertake similar lockout procedures.

This Saturday, April 20, marks the anniversary of the deadly school shooting that shocked the nation. On that day 12 students and one teacher was killed and 24 others were wounded, marking a new era in deadly school shootings in America that continues to this day. Even now, twenty years later, the high school is an object of morbid fascination for disturbed individuals and routinely receives threats of all sorts. As a result the Jefferson County school district has a highly trained security along with one of the most comprehensive security systems in the country to ensure that students and teachers remain safe. “As the district prepares for the day’s memorial events, it is fending off an onslaught of curious strangers who trespass in the school’s parking lot— sometimes more than 30 people in a single day,” the Washington Post reports. “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.”