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Lakewood church shooting updates: Suspect’s neighbors share concerns as 7-year-old victim fights for life

Lakewood church shooter used rifle with ‘Palestine’ sticker, police say

Neighbors recalled the red flags they noticed about Genesse Moreno, the 36-year-old woman who opened fire Sunday inside Joel Osteen’s megachurch in Houston, Texas.

Moreno, who has an extensive criminal record and uses several male aliases, allegedly fired an AR-15 with the word “Palestine” across it, police said.

Several neighbors said Moreno harassed and threatened them for four years, with one saying she scrawled swastikas on his property and taunted her and her grandchildren on several occasions.

Police said Moreno entered the Lakewood church armed with the rifle and wearing a trench coat and backpack. She was accompanied by her 7-year-old son.

After she began shooting, two off-duty officers returned fire and she was pronounced dead at the scene.

The child was caught in an exchange of gunfire and was hit in the head. He is in critical condition.

A 57-year-old man was also shot in the leg. He has been released from the hospital, police said.

Lakewood Church is one of the largest Christian churches in the United States, with a capacity of approximately 16,000 people. Joel Osteen, its senior pastor, is one of the most notable religious leaders in the United States.

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Lakewood shooter ‘gave money to megachurch’ before opening fire

Genesse Moreno allegedly donated to the Lakewood church years before opening fire at the religious institution — alongside her son.

Moreno’s social media posts revealed that in March 2020, she posted a screenshot of a letter from the Lakewood church thanking her for the donation, CNN reported.

Andrea CavallierFebruary 13, 2024 5:20 p.m.

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Shooter’s former mother-in-law says system failed her grandson

Moreno’s former mother-in-law, Rabbi Walli Carranza, told KHOU11 that they repeatedly sought help for Moreno, who she said suffers from “a particular type of schizophrenia that left him led to become violent.”

“She threatened her husband, my own son, and we still haven’t been able to get intervention,” Ms. Carranza said. “We asked for help from the CPS. … We asked the police for help and received it several times, but she was still allowed to possess weapons.

Ms. Carranza, who is the boy’s grandmother, hopes he survives.

“He’s a fighter. It’s a little Carranza,” she said.

Andrea CavallierFebruary 13, 2024 5:00 p.m.

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Who is the son of Lakewood church shooter Genesse Moreno?

Genesse Moreno was accompanied by her seven-year-old son when she opened fire on the megachurch on Sunday. He was surprised during an exchange of gunfire with police and was shot in the head. He is currently in critical condition.

Moreno’s ex-husband is a registered sex offender, and her son has special needs and was placed in her custody after the divorce.

According to divorce documents, he claimed that Moreno “demonstrates no attachment to the child” and calls him “the boy” instead of his name and “does not make eye contact with him.”

Child Protective Services investigated the family several times and found that Moreno “had a history of irregular paranoid behavior and stalking and had been diagnosed as having Munchausen by proxy”, and that she had put a loaded gun in her 3-year-old child’s diaper bag.

Andrea CavallierFebruary 13, 2024 4:40 p.m.

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Genesse Moreno pictured in a photo

Genesse Moreno has a lengthy criminal record, with the most recent arrest occurring in the summer of 2022.

His photo was confirmed by the Fort Bend County Sheriff’s Office.

Genesse Moreno in 2022 booking photo

(Fort Bend County Sheriff’s Office)

Andrea CavallierFebruary 13, 2024 4:20 p.m.

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Church shooter’s former mother-in-law’s claim scheme failed with grandson

In a Facebook post Monday, Moreno’s former mother-in-law criticized the system for failing to remove a child from a “woman with a known mental illness.”

“Even though my former daughter-in-law lashed out against Israel and Jews yesterday in a pro-Palestinian speech, it has nothing to do with Judaism or Islam. Nothing! But this is what happens when reckless and irresponsible reporting gives people with serious mental illnesses an excuse to commit violent acts,” she wrote.

“No one can ever blame a police officer who is carrying out his lawful duty to save lives, even if he is found responsible for the shooting of my grandson. The fault lies with Montgomery County and Harris County Child Protective Services for refusing to remove custody of a woman with a known, untreated mental illness and the State of Texas for failing to implement strict alarm laws that would have prevented him (Moreno) from owning or possessing a firearm.

Andrea CavallierFebruary 13, 2024 4:00 p.m.

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Lakewood shooter allegedly abused her husband

Police say Moreno had a long history of mental illness and had been accused by her husband of being violent.

According to divorce records obtained by ABC13, Enrique Carranza wrote that Moreno, whom he called “Jeffrey,” became violent shortly after they married.

They met in 2015 while both working at the Spaghetti Warehouse in downtown Houston.

“Jeffrey is diagnosed with schizophrenia, so every day was a new battle or fight in her kingdom,” according to the documents.

He also wrote that Moreno suffered from lupus but stopped taking her medication and that after becoming pregnant she continued using other drugs.

Church shooter had history of mental illness

“I currently fear that my wife will harm my son because she knows that all I wanted my whole life was to be a father, and I will not allow hatred to be taught to my son,” Mr. Carranza wrote.

Mr. Carranza is a registered sex offender, but he was granted custody of the couple’s son in Harris County.

However, he later lost custody when the divorce was finalized in 2022. He is currently incarcerated in Florida for failure to register as a sex offender.

Houston Mayor John Whitmire said Monday that detectives were investigating whether Moreno’s mental health played a role in the shooting.

Andrea CavallierFebruary 13, 2024 3:40 p.m.

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Shooter allegedly accused his son’s teacher of harassing him

The teacher of Moreno’s seven-year-old son told KPRC that Moreno accused her of harassing him.

“She called the school to say I was stalking her house,” she said.

Another neighbor said she filed a police report in July 2022 when Morena allegedly pointed a gun at her. But Moreno was not arrested, she said.

Several police reports were filed against Morena by neighbors.

“We went to the courthouse and we talked to the commissioners and the elected officials. We can’t do anything more than what we did, we tried to stop this,” another neighbor said. “We tried to help the public.”

Andrea CavallierFebruary 13, 2024 3:20 p.m.

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Neighbors remember the red flags they noticed about Genesse Moreno

Neighbors are speaking out about red flags they noticed about Genesse Moreno before she opened fire on Lakewood Church Sunday.

Several neighbors told KPRC that Moreno harassed and threatened them for four years.

A neighbor said Moreno scrawled swastikas on her property and taunted her and her grandchildren on several occasions.

“I went through hell. I reported this, I reported it and it fell on deaf ears,” said neighbor Jill. “I’ve had psychological officers here who wouldn’t answer their doors, they wouldn’t do anything, until she hurts you, there’s nothing we can do. Everyone keeps saying on all these big news channels: see something, say something.

Neighbors of Lakewood church shooter share thoughts

Andrea CavallierFebruary 13, 2024 3:00 p.m.

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What is the motive for the shooting?

The motive for the shooting remains unclear, but investigators said Genesse Moreno had a sticker reading “Palestine” on the butt of the rifle.

Police have since also recovered anti-Semitic writings, they said.

Christopher Hassig of the Houston Police Department’s homicide unit said that at the time of the shooting, Moreno was in the middle of a domestic dispute with her ex-husband and his family, who are Jewish.

“We think that’s where it comes from,” he said.

However, officials cautioned against speculation, saying the investigation was still in its early stages.

“It is far too early to determine the motive for the shooter’s actions and we are not speculating,” said Doug Williams, FBI special agent in charge of the Houston field office.

Rachel SharpFebruary 13, 2024 2:20 p.m.

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ICYMI: Lakewood church shooter identified as Genesse Moreno

The shooter who opened fire inside Joel Osteen’s Lakewood Church in Houston has been identified by police as Genesse Ivonne Moreno.

The 36-year-old “lone wolf” allegedly took his own seven-year-old son to church before going on the shooting spree using an assault rifle with the word “Palestine” written on it.

The shooting happened around 1:50 p.m. Sunday, just minutes before the start of a Spanish-language sermon.

During an exchange of gunfire with two off-duty officers, she was killed and her son was shot in the head. He is in critical condition.

Although the motive for the shooting remains unclear, investigators said Moreno had a sticker reading “Palestine” on the butt of his rifle.

Police have since also recovered anti-Semitic writings, they said.

At the time of the shooting, police said Moreno was in a domestic dispute with her ex-husband and his family, who are Jewish, and believed it may have stemmed from that dispute.

However, officials cautioned against speculation, saying the investigation was still in its early stages.

Andrea CavallierFebruary 13, 2024 2:00 p.m.

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