(UPI) — A Miami man pleaded guilty to threatening to attack a mosque and shoot its members, the Department of Justice announced Wednesday.
Gerald Wallace, 35, admitted to to one count of obstructing the free exercise of religious beliefs after “leaving a hate-filled and profanity laden message against Islam, the prophet Mohammed, and the Koran, during which he threatened to go to the mosque” and shoot its members, the DOJ said in a statement. “He further admitted that by leaving this threatening message, he obstructed congregants who worship at the Islamic Center from freely exercising their religious beliefs.”
According to the indictment, Wallace called the mosque on Feb. 19 and left a message in which he said, “I hate you Muslims, you Muslims are terrible. I hate you people. I’m gonna go down to your center, I’m gonna shoot all y’all. [Expletive] you, I hate your Allah, I hate your Koran, I hate everything about Islam. You people are worthless [expletive]. Go to hell. [Expletive] you.”
The Miami Herald reported that Wallace, who worked as a grocery store security guard before is arrest, told authorities that he had an “absolute hatred” of Muslims since the 9/11 terrorist attacks and he had attempted to call several mosques to make threats.
“Hate crimes, no matter their form, engender fear and have no place in our society,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Benjamin G. Greenberg. “By leaving a hate-filled and profanity laden message against Islam and threatening to shoot the members of the mosque he targeted, Gerald Wallace obstructed the free exercise of religion. Hate crimes not only violate our laws, but they are contrary to our country’s most fundamental principles.”
Wallace faces 20 years in prison for the terror threat, as well as a $250,000 fine. He will be sentenced Jan. 17 in front of U.S. District Court Judge Marcia G. Cooke.
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