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Houston shooter at Joel Osteen’s Lakewood church had 2 guns, police say

Child seriously injured in Joel Osteen church shooting is suspect’s son

The shooter who opened fire at famous pastor Joel Osteen’s Lakewood church in Houston before he was killed by security guards, he owned two guns at the Texas megachurch but only used one, police said Monday. The shooter was identified as Genesse Ivonne Moreno, 36, who had a history of mental health issues, including being placed in emergency detention in 2016, police said at a news conference.

A 7-year-old boy who was seriously shot in the head during the shooting has been identified as the shooter’s son, authorities said. He was described as a 5-year-old child on Sunday. Authorities said it was unclear who fired the shot that hit the child.

Houston Police Chief Troy Finner said the boy was “fighting for his life.” “What we need to do for him is pray,” Finner told reporters.

The motive for the attack that sent worshipers rushing to safety between busy services Sunday remains unclear, officials said. The shooter used an AR-15 rifle in the shooting that was legally purchased in December, Houston Police Commander Christopher Hassig told reporters.

“There was a sticker on the butt of the rifle that said Palestine,” Hassig said. He also said investigators believe the shooter acted alone, was not part of a larger group and used multiple aliases.

Police discovered anti-Semitic writings during their investigation and believe there was a dispute between the shooter’s ex-husband and the ex-husband’s family, some of whom are Jewish, Hassig said.

The shooter also had a .22-caliber rifle in a bag that was not used in the shooting, Hassig said.

Emergency vehicles line the service road outside Lakewood Church during a shooting Feb. 11, 2024, in Houston.

Kirk Sides/Houston Chronicle via Getty Images

A 57-year-old man was also injured in the shooting and was released, Finner said.

The shooter arrived at the church in a vehicle, removed the boy and confronted an unarmed security guard before entering the building, Hassig said.

The gunman entered a hallway inside the building wearing a trench coat and began shooting before an off-duty Houston police officer and a Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission agent working security at the church did not return fire, police said.

“Several shots are exchanged by the three,” Hassig said.

The shooter failed to enter the church sanctuary, he said.

A livestream from the church captured the moment gunshots were heard just before a Spanish-language service.

The shooter threatened to have an explosive, but bomb squads found nothing, police said.

“It could have been a lot worse,” Osteen told reporters at a news conference after the shooting.

An affidavit seeking a search warrant for a home in Conroe, about 40 miles north of Houston, requested the FBI’s help in retrieving all data from electronic devices found in the home.

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