As chief of security for Colorado's Jefferson County School District, John McDonald hears of plenty of threats, especially around the anniversary of the April 20, 1999 Columbine massacre. But "this was the real deal," he says of Tuesday's warning about Sol Pais, the 18-year-old South Florida student who traveled to Littleton on Monday and bought a 12-gauge pump-action shotgun—the same gun used by one of the Columbine shooters—plus ammunition. "She goes directly from the airport to the gun store," two miles from Columbine school, McDonald tells the Washington Post. "These are the red flags we always talk about." There were others, too. "My views and thoughts [are] becoming more extreme and solidified," reads a Jan. 15 post on a website including scanned, handwritten journal entries signed with Pais' name. "[I'm] on the verge of boiling over."
Per CNN, the author also references wanting "to leave a record of myself before I, well…" Noting one entry appears to include drawings of a Columbine gunman, the New York Times also quotes from a recent entry: "The last few days have been especially painful and tumultuous, which kickstarted me again to start reviving my plans." By March, Pais had reportedly made plans to travel to Colorado and buy a gun, according to a post on the website of the National Gun Forum she is said to have written. But classmates at Miami Beach Senior High School didn't see Pais as troubled. As one tells the Times, "She's so quiet. How could someone so quiet be like that?" Another describes Pais as "a genuine person"—"really smart" with "such a pretty smile." She was found dead Wednesday near the base of Mount Evans, some 60 miles from Littleton, after taking an Uber. (Authorities believe she shot herself.)