September 2001


Speak softly and carry a big Bible!
Bible saves middle son from mom

The Associated Press

North Fort Myers, Fla. - A mother allegedly shot dead her 6-year-old son yesterday (Sept. 2) but a shotgun blast intended for his 16-year-old brother was absorbed by the teenager's Bible, police said.

Leslie Ann Wallace, 39, was later shot by sheriff's deputies and hospitalized in critical condition.

Authorities said Wallace shot her son James Wallace at home, then drove to her family's church where she fired her shotgun at 16-year-old Kenneth Wallace as he stood outside.

The blast, fired at close range, struck his Bible and the overcoat he was carrying. Kenneth Wallace's arm had minor scratches.

"The Bible certainly saved his life," said Lee County Sheriff's Deputy Larry King. "Had his Bible not been in the way he would have sustained the brunt of the blast and very well could have died from that type of injury."

Authorities said that from the church, Mrs. Wallace drove to a pizzeria where her 19-year-old son, Gregory Wallace, was working and she pointed her shotgun at the store's manager. Police had forewarned Gregory Wallace that his mother may be en route.

Authorities said she then went to a pay phone and called 911 to report the killing of James Wallace. Police found his body at the family's home.

As deputies pulled over her car, she began firing at them, authorities said. They returned fire, hitting her once.

King said police found anti-depressant medication at the home but did not give a motive for the shootings.

"We're still sorting through things," King said. "The rest of the circumstances aren't real clear yet."

He said charges against Wallace were pending.

Reprinted with permission.