Houston, Texas – The suspect who fired shots at Joel Osteen’s Lakewood Church has been identified as Genesse Ivonne Moreno, a 36-year-old Hispanic woman, according to a search warrant obtained by authorities.
The Houston Mayor and Police Chief gave an update on the investigation almost exactly 24 hours after the shooting. Agents with the FBI, Texas Rangers, and ATF raided a home in Conroe believed to be connected to Moreno. Additionally, authorities found anti-Semitic writings, but did not provide further details. Police believe there was a dispute with her ex-husband’s family, some of whom are Jewish but are not members of Lakewood Church.
The shooting has raised concerns about the safety of religious institutions. Police stated that patrols will be increased at places of worship across the City of Houston. The series of events unfolded just before a Spanish-speaking service, with thousands of people packed inside the megachurch. Moreno, wearing a trench coat, got out of her white vehicle and removed her 7-year-old son and a bag from the backseat. She then pointed a gun at a security officer, forcing her way in and immediately began firing several shots using an AR-15.
During a gun battle with officers, Moreno was killed, and her son was also shot. At least 12 shots were reportedly fired. The 7-year-old boy is currently fighting for his life, and a 57-year-old man who was shot in the leg has been released from the hospital.
The FBI is working with HPD on the investigation, adding that it’s still too early to determine a motive. If anyone knows anything about the shooting, authorities urge them to contact the Houston Police Department. Panic spread quickly as people inside the church started running and trying to get to safety. Some managed to get outside the building but could not leave because officers locked down several blocks surrounding the church.
Authorities are investigating Moreno’s mental health and her history of criminal activity, dating back to 2005, with the latest case coming in the summer of 2022 in Fort Bend County. Moreno’s family did not attend services at Lakewood, and authorities have said she acted alone. They are also looking into how Moreno was able to obtain weapons given her mental health history.
Lakewood Church released a message to its members in the wake of the tragedy, expressing deep sadness and offering words of hope during this difficult time.
The investigation is ongoing, with authorities continuing to work towards understanding the motive behind the shooting.