WILMINGTON, Del. — A Delaware man accused of threatening his neighbors believed they were Muslims bent on doing him and the nation harm, and he told investigators he would stop them, police say.
Gerard Medvec, 63, of Delaware City had binoculars set on a windowsill when police arrived at his house last week and he told them he was using them to spy on his neighbor, according to court documents.
He also had two semi-automatic rifles in his house, one of which had taped magazines, and a handgun he wore in his waistband.
Medvec alluded to “taking the fight to them” and said he “seriously thought about throwing some Molotov cocktails” at his neighbors’ house, according to court documents.
His neighbors are not Muslim, Delaware City Police Chief David Baylor said.
“For someone to draw an opinion of people just based on the color of their skin is obviously disturbing,” Baylor said. “That he threatened to take possible action is very alarming.”
He was charged with terroristic threatening in association with a hate crime. Delaware City Police arrested him Friday.
On Oct. 14, Medvec called 911 and made reference to a previously reported threat on his life, according to court documents. Authorities responded for a welfare check and noticed the binoculars.
Medvec apparently told those authorities he’d been inside his home and watching his neighbors on their porch. He said nothing about the house particularly had drawn his attention except “the subject was a black male wearing a ‘Muslim hat’ underneath a baseball hat.”
On Oct. 17, a psychiatric social worker with the State Police’s Mobile Crisis Unit was met at Medvec’s front door by Medvec’s wife, who announced that “Homeland Security” and “the Chief” were here to see him, according to court documents.
Medvec ran down the stairs and slipped on a rug, according to court documents, agitated that his wife might have revealed to anyone listening in on his home that Homeland Security had arrived.
He calmed down and agreed to meet with a police crisis team, court documents show. This is when authorities noticed the rifles on a table and, court documents report, Medvec took the pistol out of his pants and set it down near the front door before leaving the house.
Medvec told social workers he believed his neighbors were watching him from their porch and using electronic tablets to follow his movements inside his house, according to court documents. He also said he believed his life was at stake.
He talked about firebombing the house in order to “take the fight to them,” according to court documents. He’d previously threatened he would “go to their house and start shooting,” according to court documents.
A discussion with the Delaware Attorney General’s Office led to the labeling of his actions as a hate crime, according to court documents.
A judge has ordered Medvec to not have any contact with the victims and was also ordered to relinquish all of his firearms.
He was released on $4,000 secured bond after being fitted with a court-ordered monitoring device.
The arrest got the attention of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, the nation’s largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization.
“We welcome the hate crime charge in this case as an indication that law enforcement authorities are taking the alleged bias motive seriously,” CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper said in a news release.