When the history of the early years of the 21st century is written, authors may include a footnote about the bizarre case of the man who kidnapped a driver-for-hire, robbed a Miami bank, tried to kidnap an employee there, and then went to South Beach where, while standing on the trunk of a car, threw the money at the crowd that rushed to pick up the falling dollar bills.
Enrique Antonio Gámez, 35, appeared in January before judges in Miami federal court who denied him bond and ordered a psychiatric evaluation before deciding if he can stand trial if he pleads not guilty.
The case, which drew wide media attention when it unfolded Jan. 9, is now in federal court downtown where the U.S. government wants to prosecute Gámez, who lives in Miramar, for bank robbery. But Gámez’s lawyer persuaded the judge to order the psychiatric evaluation before deciding whether to proceed with prosecution and trial.
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According to the initial reports of the incident, Gámez was annoyed by allegations that Russia had hacked the U.S. election. The driver who transported Gámez and described himself as a hostage, streamed the robbery and South Beach scenes via Facebook Live.
In one photo, a man is seen standing on the trunk of the car throwing money at the crowd. The episode on busy Ocean Drive ends when police arrive.
The bizarre saga began shortly before 5 p.m. Jan. 9 when someone who identified himself as Mikebilly So-Focused began broadcasting the robbery, which shows a man in a suit and tie inside the Navy Federal Credit Union, 909 SE First Ave., Miami, demanding money.
The robber is given an envelope with cash, unsuccessfully tries to kidnap an employee and then announces: “I’m going to surrender once I give away this money to people who are poor, then I’ll surrender. I’ll answer to the judges. I’ll answer to the media. I just want to speak before Congress. I want people to listen to me and for them to stop lying to us. They’re lying to us. They’re telling us that Russia hacked the election and they’re trying to start a war. They’re going to kill us all.”
In the car, the man who robbed the bank shows the cash, which the prosecutor in court said amounted to $11,000. Initial reports said Gámez had a bomb, but FBI agent Earle Ellsworth said in court that it was not real. Ellsworth also said in court that the driver worked for Lyft.
“Gámez was carrying a large black overcoat, and underneath a tablet computer strapped to a camel-back hydration bladder with wires running from the tablet into the bladder, giving it the appearance of an improvised explosive device,” the FBI criminal complaint says.
While at the bank, Gámez wore a coat and tie. In court, he wore a khaki inmate uniform and was handcuffed at the wrists and chained at the ankles.
Magistrate Judge John O’Sullivan kept Gámez in detention because he considered him a flight risk and danger to the community. Prosecutors said he suffers from schizophrenia and post-traumatic stress disorder.
Officials are now awaiting results of the psychiatric evaluation. Arraignment is tentatively set for later in the month.