Lakewood Church Shooting Suspect Had a Telling Message Scrawled on Gun: Report

Lakewood Church Shooting Suspect Had a Telling Message Scrawled on Gun: Report

CORRECTION, Feb. 13, 2024: Genesse Ivonne Moreno, who was shot to death during her attack at the Lakewood Church in Houston on Sunday, was a woman who previously used a male identity. A previous version of this article misstated her sex. The headline has also been altered to remove the word “trans.”

The shooter who fired multiple rounds in Houston’s Lakewood Church on Sunday had a pro-Palestinian slogan on the gun she used, according to reports.

The words “Free Palestine” were written on the rifle, according to ABC.

The shooter has been identified as Genesse Ivonne Moreno, the Houston Chronicle reported, citing KHOU-TV reporter Jeremy Rogalski. Rogalski’s social media post did not identify his sources.

The Chronicle report said Moreno, 36, has identified as a man in the past and was formerly known as Jeffrey Escalante.

The shooter had a criminal record that included arrests for assault, forgery, marijuana possession, theft, evading and unlawful carrying of a weapon, Rogalski reported.

Shortly before 2 p.m. Sunday, Moreno, along with a 5-year-old boy, entered the Houston mega-church run by Pastor Joel Osteen. A church service in Spanish was going to start soon, according to USA Today.

At some point during the incident, Moreno claimed a backpack she was wearing had explosives, but none were found.

“I don’t want to talk about her motivations because I don’t know. Right?” Houston Police Chief Troy Finner said Sunday.

Finner said Moreno sprayed a substance on the ground, but it is not known what that was.

A search for a motive is ongoing, according to KTRK-TV.

Police say up to 12 shots were fired, the station reported.

A Houston police officer and an agent with the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission who were working at the church off-duty shot and killed Moreno.

The 5-year-old boy was listed in critical condition Monday after being shot in the crossfire. A 57-year-old man was wounded in the leg. Police have not yet determined who shot them.

“We don’t understand why these things happen, but we know that God is in control,” Osteen said, noting that his congregation would pray for all involved, according to KTRK.

“Believe that we’re going to stay strong and we’re going to continue to move forward.”

Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo, a Democrat, said in a statement, “I will not make any assumptions because information continues to come in as to what motivated the shooter, but I am asking that the investigation look into whether it was a hate crime, given the shooting took place at an all-Spanish service.”

“We all stand with the Lakewood congregation as they recover from this terrifying day and with the young child and adult who are known to have been hurt in the shooting,” Hidalgo added, according to ABC.

This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.

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