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Police in Houston, Texas, have identified the shooter who opened fire at Joel Osteen’s Lakewood Church on Sunday as Genesse Ivonne Moreno, Fox News has confirmed.

Moreno, originally from El Salvador, who had a lengthy criminal record, also previously used the name Jeffrey Escalante Moreno, investigators said. The shooter was killed after off-duty police officers at the church responded to the incident. Police said two people were injured – a 57-year-old man and the child who accompanied the shooter. 

Preliminary reporting indicated the shooter was transgender, but in a Monday news conference, investigators identified her as a woman and the biological mother of the 7-year-old child.

A search warrant showed that Moreno pointed an AR-15 at the officers who then fired upon her and killed her in self-defense.


The preliminary reporting also indicated that the message “Free Palestine” was written on the rifle; investigators said later it was just “Palestine.”

Moreno, 36, had a criminal history including convictions for assaulting a police officer in 2009 and forgery in 2010. 

Members of the FBI, the Texas Rangers, the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office and the Conroe and Houston Police Departments were investigating a property Monday in Conroe, north of Houston, that was believed to be Moreno’s residence, KPRC reported.

The shooting unfolded Sunday afternoon before the Houston megachurch’s 2 p.m. Spanish service was set to begin.

Moreno entered the church with a long rifle, wearing a backpack and a trench coat and accompanied by the child, Houston Police Chief Troy Finner said.


Escalante Moreno Mugshots

After the shooter opened fire, off-duty officers at the scene “engaged” the shooter and returned fire. Moreno was pronounced dead at the scene. The child was shot in the head, authorities said. The child is not expected to survive, a Montgomery County District Attorney’s Office spokesperson told the Houston Chronicle.

Commander Christopher Hassig of the Houston Police Department’s homicide division said, in addition to the AR-15, a .22 caliber rifle was also found in Moreno’s possession.

Investigators said they will look into how Moreno was able to purchase the two guns, one of which, Hassig said, was legally purchased in December.

Authorities said antisemitic writings were found inside the vehicle Moreno drove to the place of worship. Police did not say what was written, but suggested it may have stemmed from a familial dispute involving Moreno’s ex-husband and his family – some of whom police said are Jewish. 

Lakewood Church shooting

During a Sunday news conference, Osteen thanked law enforcement and said that he was “devastated” by the shooting.  

“We don’t understand why all these things happened, but we know God’s in control,” Osteen said. 

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott called the shooting “tragic.” 

Lakewood Church shooting response


The motive for the shooting was unclear.

Finner said officers were wearing body cameras at the time, which will be reviewed as part of the investigation, along with security cameras at the church.

Fox News’ Andrea Vacchiano contributed to this report.

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