Man charged in Islamic Center threats ate paint as child, treated for lead poisoning

Attorney reveals Gerald Wallace's past during detention hearing


MIAMI – An attorney for a man facing federal charges for making threats against the Islamic Center of Greater Miami said his client "was hospitalized as a child for eating paint and was treated for lead poisoning," according to a U.S. magistrate judge's detention order.

Gerald Wallace was recently charged with obstruction of persons in the free exercise of religious beliefs. A grand jury indicted him after he was previously charged with one count of interstate transmission of a threat to injure.

Judge Edwin G. Torres ruled Monday that Wallace remain jailed without bond, saying that he "poses a danger to the community."

Torres' order also revealed what a federal public defender said during a detention hearing about Wallace's mental state.

Although the public defender said Wallace had never been tested for competency and didn't think that it was necessary, he said Wallace had been hospitalized as a child for eating paint and had been treated for lead poisoning. He went on to say that Wallace attended classes for emotionally handicapped children while in high school.

FBI Special Agent Andrew Mercurio testified that Wallace, who worked as a security guard, appeared competent and cooperative during a recorded interview.

The FBI claims Wallace sent a 2015 email to the Miami Gardens mosque in which he spoke about "wanting to kill every Muslim." The FBI said Wallace left a threatening voicemail at the same mosque in February.

"I'm gonna go down to your center. I'm gonna shoot all ya'll," Wallace said, according to the FBI.

Mercurio testified that between December 2015 and February 2017, Wallace either emailed or called five mosques in South Florida. The government also claims that Wallace has said if he saw a Muslim on the street, he would beat the Muslim until he or she had "had enough."