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Sunday, March 3, 2024

Police ID shooting suspect who opened fire at Joel Osteen's megachurch in Texas

HOUSTON (KXAN) – The suspect who opened fire at Houston’s popular Lakewood Church on Sunday has been identified as 36-year-old Genesse Ivonne Moreno, according to a search warrant obtained by Nexstar on Monday.

The shooting took place Sunday afternoon, after the woman entered Pastor Joel Osteen’s megachurch armed with a long gun, the Houston Police Department said. The suspect shot and injured one man before being killed by two off-duty security officers. A boy she brought along was also shot in the incident and is not expected to survive.

The search warrant states that the suspect was armed with an AR-15 and made threats about a bomb. An officer observed that she had “substances consistent with the manufacture of explosive devices,” though it is not known now whether the threat was credible.

The Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission identified one of the off-duty officers as Agent Adrian Herrera, who was working security for the church at the time of the shooting.

“While we are still gathering the facts on what took place at Lakewood Church, I can say that I’m extremely proud of the quick response of our agent as well as the other law enforcement agents on the scene,” TABC Chairman Kevin Lilly said. “These officers likely prevented a much greater tragedy through their brave actions.”

Herrera has been employed by TABC for around five years. He was placed on paid administrative leave pending an internal TABC investigation into the shooting, TABC said in a press release.

lakewood shooting
Houston Police officers watch over displaced churchgoers outside Lakewood Church, Sunday, Feb. 11, 2024, in Houston, after a shooting during a Spanish church service. (Karen Warren/Houston Chronicle via AP)

Houston Police Chief Troy Finner did not identify the suspect at a news conference Sunday, but described the shooter as a woman in her early to mid-30s. He added that she was wearing a trenchcoat and a backpack.

Finner also said the young boy with the suspect was shot, but did not say whether one of the off-duty officers had struck the boy with a bullet while returning fire on the suspect.

“That female, that suspect, put that baby in danger. I’m going to put that blame on her,” he said.

Finner and Mayor John Whitmire are hosting a press conference in Houston on Monday at 1:30 p.m.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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