(GoRealNewsNow.com) – In a shocking incident at Joel Osteen’s large church in Houston this Sunday, Genesse Ivonne Moreno, 36, opened fire just before a Spanish-language service was about to begin. She was accompanied by a 7-year-old boy and started shooting as people were settling into their seats.
Two off-duty officers present at the church responded to the gunfire. One was Christopher Moreno, a Houston police officer not related to the shooter, and the other was Adrian Herrera, an agent with the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission. The officers fatally shot Genesse Moreno.
The young boy was critically injured with a gunshot wound to the head and is currently in a critical condition in the hospital. Police Chief Troy Finner emphasized, “That female, that suspect, put that baby in danger. I’m going to put that blame on her.” The nature of the boy’s relationship to Moreno has not been clarified.
Moreno had a history of legal issues dating back to 2005 and was previously detained under an emergency order in 2016 due to concerns for her mental health. “We do believe that she does have a mental health history that is documented through us and through interviews with family members,” stated HPD Officer Christopher Hassig.
There’s confusion over Moreno’s identity as she was previously known as Jeffery Escalante. Hassig addressed this, saying, “She used multiple aliases including Jeffery Escalante… Houston police report she has identified this entire time as female. She/her.”
Investigations revealed that Moreno had written antisemitic content and might have had a dispute with her ex-husband’s family, who are Jewish. “So we believe that might be where all of this stems from,” explained Hassig. “We are going to be delving into that more. But we do want to stress that she acted alone.”
Moreno used an AR-15 rifle for the shooting, which was purchased legally in December. Another rifle was found in her bag but was not used. During the attack, she fired as many as 12 shots and claimed there was a bomb by pouring an unknown substance on the floor, although no explosives were found.
After the incident, law enforcement searched Moreno’s home, anticipating the discovery of more weapons and possibly explosive materials. The search was part of the ongoing investigation into the tragic event.
Joel Osteen, speaking after the incident, expressed relief that the attack didn’t occur during a busier service, acknowledging the potential for even greater harm.
The FBI emphasized it’s too early to speculate on Moreno’s motives. “It’s way too early to determine a motive for the shooter’s actions, and we’re not in the business of speculating,” said FBI Special Agent in Charge Doug Williams, committing to assist in the ongoing investigation.