Motive Remains Unclear in Houston Megachurch Shooting

Update at 3:00pm:

(AP) – Search warrant documents show that a suspect in a trenchcoat who opened fire in celebrity pastor Joel Osteen’s megachurch in Texas was carrying an AR-15 style rifle.

The shooter was identified as 36-year-old Genesse Ivonne Moreno, according to an affidavit seeking a search warrant released by the Montgomery County district attorney’s office.

Police did say they found anti-Semitic writings and there was a sticker that read, “Palestine,” on the weapon.

The shooting happened Sunday in between services at Lakewood Church, one of the nation’s largest megachurches. Police say two off-duty officers working security shot and killed the suspect.

Two other people were also shot and wounded, including the young son of the shooter.

(Copyright 2024, The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

(WBAP/KLIF contributed to this update.)

Original Story:

HOUSTON (WBAP/KLIF News ) – Houston police are investigating the motive behind a shooting inside celebrity pastor Joel Osteen’s Lakewood Church over the weekend.

During a press conference Sunday afternoon, Sheriff Troy Finner said a woman, believed to be around 30 to 35 years old, wearing a trench coat and armed with an AR-15 stormed into the megachurch and opened fire in between Sunday afternoon services.

The suspect, who has been identified as 36-year-old Genesse Ivonna Moreno, was accompanied by a small child. Two off-duty officers working the church immediately responded and fatally shot her.

The 5-year-old with Moreno was also shot and is in critical condition. A 57-year-old man was shot in the leg and is expected to recover.

Lakewood church draws tens of thousands of people to its services each week. Pastor Osteen said he’s grateful the terrifying situation wasn’t worse.

“I can only imagine if it would have happened during the 11 o’clock service. We were in between services going into the Spanish service. If there’s anything good of it is that she didn’t get in there and do a whole lot worse damage,” he said.

Authorities said Moreno also claimed to have a bomb.

In a post on X, Lakewood Church asked for prayers for the church and the surrounding community.

“We’re going to stay strong. We’re going to continue to move forward. There are forces are evil but the forces that are for us…the forces of God are stronger than that,” he said.

Copyright 2023. WBAP/KLIF News. All Rights Reserved.