A Texas woman who opened fire at Joel Osteen’s Lakewood Church was accused of being a schizophrenic with Munchausen-by-proxy – but was still able to legally purchase the AR-15 she used to unleash horror on Sunday.
Gunwoman Genesse Ivonne Moreno, 36, had a lengthy criminal record going back to 2005, including charges of assault, weapons, marijuana possession and forgery charges. She also had a history of mental illness and was held in an emergency detention order in 2016, police said Monday.
They also revealed they found anti-Semitic writings and that Moreno appeared to have issues with Jewish relatives.
‘We do believe that there was a familial dispute that has taken place between her ex-husband and her ex-husband’s family, some of whom are Jewish,’ police said in a press conference.
Moreno used several identities under both genders and it’s unclear what gender she identified as. However, police said on Monday she is believed to be the biological mother of the seven-year-old she brought into the church with her.
The gunwoman’s mom reportedly attended the Houston megachurch and its staff may have been questioned about the shooter during her contentious divorce battle, according to documents seen by KHOU11.
Court records from 2022 show that Moreno’s ex-mother-in-law Walli Carranza accused her and her mother of keeping the child away from his father Enrique Carranza, who is currently in jail in Florida for failing to register as a sex offender.
Carranza claimed Moreno had been diagnosed with schizophrenia and Munchausen by proxy – and that she was investigated by Child Protected Services four times and found to have harmed the child twice.
However, the mother-in-law did not show up to court, and a judge made Moreno the managing conservator of the boy, now fighting for his life after being shot in the head in the gunfight.
Despite the sordid history, Texas officials revealed on Monday that Moreno was able to legally purchase the assault rifle in December.
Moreno entered the megachurch with the seven-year-old boy just before a Spanish-language service was set to begin. She was wearing a trench coat and backpack, and carrying a yellow rope that ‘appeared to be a detonation cord.’
She sprayed ‘some type of substance on the ground’ and started firing before two off-duty cops who were working at the megachurch shot her dead, police said.
The child was also critically injured, and is not expected to survive the Montgomery County District Attorney’s Office told the Houston Chronicle. Police said on Monday they believe she is the biological mother of the child, who was shot in the head.
A 57-year-old bystander was shot in the leg during gunfire exchange but is expected to recover.
Images from the scene of the shooting show the chaotic moment terrified congregants run to safety after hearing several shots fired.
Police Chief Troy Finner said it was not clear whether the young child was struck by the officers – a 28-year-old Houston police officer and a 38-year-old agent with the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission – who returned fire.
Houston police and the FBI were seen searching a home in Conroe -about 50 minutes north of Lakewood Church – believed to be connected to the shooting on Sunday night.
Chief Finner said after the woman began shooting, both officers ‘engaged’ her and the woman was killed.