CONROE, Texas — Years before a shooter opened fire at Joel Osteen’s Lakewood Church in Houston, residents of the small neighborhood said they had run-ins with the suspect, who scared them.
Six women who live in the Conroe neighborhood, a northern suburb of Houston, said the woman, Genesse Ivonne Moreno, targeted them, harassed them, threatened them, deployed them with guns and made them afraid to leave their homes .
Late Monday afternoon, the women held a press conference in the driveway of a house describe what they said they had endured and criticize what they said they had been the failure of officials to respond to their reports on Moreno.
“No one should have died. No one should have been hurt. This should have been fixed years ago, and here we are again,” said Jill, the neighborhood association president, who did not want to give her last name for fear of retaliation.
Authorities said Moreno opened fire Sunday afternoon between services at the Lakewood megachurch in Houston. Her 7-year-old son was with her at the time, authorities said.
Houston Police Chief Troy Finner said Monday that the boy was injured and was “fighting for his life.”
A 57-year-old man, who was also struck, has been released from hospital.
Two off-duty law enforcement officers who were at the church returned fire, killing Moreno.
No one answered the address where authorities say Moreno lived, and no one responded to a business card left at the door. Late Monday afternoon, someone at the home stuck a dated sign on the front door that read: “I don’t want to talk to anyone. Please leave my property. Thank you.”
In the neighborhood, the lawns are tidy with few plants and planters, except for the one at Moreno’s house. It features small concrete statues of a rabbit, a fairy and an angel. Metal birds and butterflies on stems are planted around a tree. Wind chimes hang from the eaves. Doormats reading “Welcome” lead to the small portico.
A few banners with Christian messages are hung in houses in the neighborhood, but several houses are equipped with cameras, including Moreno’s. A small “No Trespassing” sign with an image of an assault rifle is posted on the fence of a house.
The women who spoke said things were so bad in the neighborhood that about five months ago, five of them spent a day talking to local officials, the police, the sheriff’s office and the city’s legal department. They wrote letters to the neighborhood’s property management company and met with his attorney, and they called the media, said Linda Giutta, who lives in the neighborhood.
They said a cease and desist order was issued after that meeting.
“We can’t do anything more than what we have done. We tried to stop that,” Giutta said. “We tried to help him. We tried to help each other. We tried to help the public. Something has to be done. »
One of the women, Heather, who only gave her first name for fear of retaliation, said she filed a complaint against Moreno, alleging she threatened her with a handgun on July 4, 2022.
Heather said Moreno yelled profanities at her while she was watering her lawn early that morning. Heather said she went to Moreno’s home and the woman pointed a handgun at her from behind the trunk of her car. She said Conroe police documented the incident as a threat.
“We’re told ‘see something, say something’. Well, we see things, we say things…and the Conroe police aren’t helping us,” Heather said. “I don’t mean to disparage them, but help us. Please.”
Neither the police department nor Conroe’s five council members immediately responded to requests for comment.
Authorities have not identified a motive for Sunday’s shooting, but they have said a dispute between Moreno and her ex-husband’s family, some of whom are Jewish, may be linked to the shooting.
Two law enforcement officials earlier told NBC News that Moreno used an assault rifle with the word “Palestine” written on it.
Moreno made several statements during the shooting, officials said, but they declined to describe them.
Moreno had a documented mental health history and was placed under an emergency detention order by Houston police in 2016. Law enforcement records show she has been arrested multiple times since 2005 She pleaded guilty to illegally carrying a weapon and pleaded down to a lesser charge after authorities charged her. her of having attacked a public official.
Another resident, Judy Keith, said she first met Moreno at a park at the end of their street. She said she stopped walking morning and evening in the neighborhood because Moreno twice tried to hit her while she was walking.
“I’m afraid to come here. I used to walk my granddaughter here to the park and I had to stop doing that,” Keith said.
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