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Lakewood church shooting – latest: Shooter’s AR-15 online posts and disturbing behaviour revealed

Lakewood church shooter used rifle with ‘Palestine’ sticker, police say

Concern continues to mount as the Lakewood Church shooter’s disturbing behaviour is revealed online in the wake of the shooting inside Joel Osteen’s megachurch in Houston, Texas on Sunday.

Genesse Moreno, 36, opened fire at the church sparking a gunfight with two off-duty cops that left her seven-year-old son – whom she had brought with her – fighting for his life in hospital. He remains in critical condition.

Houston police said in a press conference on Monday that, although Moreno had sometimes gone by the alias “Jeffrey Escalante”, their investigations so far had found no evidence that she had ever identified as any gender other than female.

But conservative pundits, activists, and politicians have continued to spread the unfounded claim that she was a transgender woman – even after it was kiboshed by police.

The Independent has also found no mention of any trans identity in court documents from Moreno’s past divorce and child custody battle, and police have confirmed that she was the biological mother of her son.

Moreno, who has a lengthy criminal record, allegedly carried out the shooting using an AR-15 with the word “Palestine” across it, police said.

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Could a red flag law have stopped the Lakewood Church shooting?

In the days since Genesse Moreno entered the megachurch on Sunday and opened fire, information has increasingly emerged about her mental health and criminal history – raising questions around whether something could have been done to have prevented the shooting.

Police said she had legally purchased the AR-15 rifle in December 2023 — despite the fact that court records show that in 2022, she was arrested for a weapons misdemeanour charge.

While more details continue to emerge as the investigation continues, all eyes are turning to Texas’ lax gun laws – particularly the state’s absence of red flag laws.

Gun safety advocates are raising the question as to whether red flag laws — also known as extreme risk protection orders — could have prevented the shooting.

Twenty-one states have implemented red flag laws — but Texas isn’t one of them.

Andrea Cavallier14 February 2024 23:00

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Genesse Moreno reportedly suffered from Munchausen Syndrome by proxy: court docs

There were accusations made by Genesse Moreno’s former mother-in-law in court documents that Moreno suffered from Munchausen Syndrome by proxy, and was making her own seven-year-old son sick.

The child, who is special needs, was with Moreno when she walked into Joel Osteen’s megachurch in Houston on Sunday and began firing. The child was struck when he was caught in an exchange of gunfire between Moreno and two off-duty cops.

“Nurses found adult pills in (her son’s) endotracheal tube while he was in the hospital. Then more adult pills were found in his feeding tube,” according to the court documents.

The child who was not potty trained was non-verbal, and “suffered by his mother ignoring medical advice, not taking him to therapy for eating, speech, and not giving him any social interaction,” the documents stated.

Andrea Cavallier14 February 2024 22:00

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Misinformation claims about shooter continues to spread even after being kiboshed by police

Conservative pundits, activists, and politicians have continued to spread the unfounded claim that the Lakewood church shooter was a transgender woman – even after it was kiboshed by police.

Houston police said in a press conference on Monday that, although Moreno had sometimes gone by the alias “Jeffrey Escalante”, their investigations so far had found no evidence that she had ever identified as any gender other than female.

The Independent has also found no mention of any trans identity in court documents from Moreno’s past divorce and child custody battle, and police have confirmed that she was the biological mother of her son.

But that did not stop conservative crusader Chris Rufo, anti-LGBT+ activist Chaya Raichik, Donald Trump Jr, and even Texas Senator Ted Cruz from latching onto the idea.

Andrea Cavallier14 February 2024 21:03

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How the shooter bought a rifle despite history of mental illness is under scrutiny

Authorities say they’re reviewing how Genesse Moreno, who opened fire at a Houston megachurch was able to legally purchase and obtain the AR-style rifle used in the attack despite a years-long criminal record and a history of mental illness.

Andrea Cavallier14 February 2024 18:45

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Genesse Moreno’s neighbours say that she intimidated them with guns and Nazi salutes

The Lakewood Church shooter reportedly terrorized her neighbours for years before she opened fire inside Joel Osteen’s megachurch on Sunday.

“Her way of intimidation was to bring the gun cases in and out, crossbows. She’d come out, have her gun cases, do heil Hitler, flip you off, call you the b-word, or something. It was something every day,” one neighbour told KPRC, a Houston TV news station.

Lakewood Church shooting: Suspect’s neighbor speak

Another neighbour said Moreno had scrawled swastikas on her property and taunted her and her grandchildren multiple times. Another claimed she tried to run them over.

“I’ve been through hell. I have reported this, reported this and its gone on deaf ears,” said one neighbour, who gave her name as Jill. “I’ve had psychological officers out here that won’t answer their door. They won’t do anything. [They say,] ‘until she hurts you there is nothing we can do’.”

Andrea Cavallier14 February 2024 18:20

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Chilling video shows Genesse Moreno just hours before shooting

New video shows Genesse Moreno just hours before she walked inside Joel Osteen’s megachurch on Sunday and opened fire.

Despite her long history with mental illness, she had been able to legally purchase the gun.

The footage obtained by ABC13 and taken from a neighbour’s home CCTV camera in Conroe, a northern suburb of Houston, show Moreno loading up her car from inside her garage while using a blue tarp to conceal her work.

At one point, she can be seen walking around her car with a brown trench coat folded over her arm. Moreno reportedly wore a trench coat during the attack.

Genesse Moreno seen in CCTV footage from a neighbour, obtained by ABC 13

(ABC 13)

Andrea Cavallier14 February 2024 17:45

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Are there any new updates on the Lakewood Church shooting?

There have been no new updates in the Lakewood Church shooting investigation, Houston Police said in a tweet on Tuesday.

Any updates will be posted to the department’s social media pages.

Andrea Cavallier14 February 2024 17:15

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Lakewood shooter ‘donated money to megachurch’ before shooting

Moreno reportedly donated money to the Texas megachurch years before she took her seven-year-old son to the religious institution and opened fire inside.

In March 2020, she posted on social media a screenshot of a letter from Lakewood Church thanking her for her donation.

Moreno’s social media accounts have since been taken down.

Andrea Cavallier14 February 2024 16:15

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Lakewood church shooter had a lengthy record

Moreno had a lengthy criminal record in Harris County, where Houston is located, the Associated Press reported.

Under the names Jeffery Escalante-Moreno or Jeffery Escalante, she was charged in six criminal cases from 2005 to 2011.

The charges ranged from forging a $100 bill, to stealing socks, hats and makeup, to assault for kicking a detention officer. The August 2009 assault conviction sent Moreno to jail for 180 days.

In a rambling 2022 application for a protective order against Moreno’s ex-mother-in-law that Moreno wrote without help from an attorney, Moreno complained of being threatened and followed and claimed to have received text messages from FBI Director Christopher Wray, the Associated Press reported.

A separate court filing in which the ex-mother-in-law sought to be named conservator of Moreno’s son, she alleged that Moreno was mentally ill and that the child was being neglected and abused.

Andrea Cavallier14 February 2024 15:30

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Shooter’s ex-mother-in-law claimed she kept son ‘infantilized’

Rabbi Walli Carranza, who is the paternal grandmother of the child who was with his mother, Genesse Moreno on the day of the shooting, said she “kept him infantilized.”

“She kept him with a feeding tube for years when it was supposed to come out in weeks,” Ms Carranza told KPRC following Sunday’s shooting as the boy remains in critical condition.

She said Moreno disappeared when she was pregnant with the boy and gave birth without the father knowing. She added that she allegedly did not take her medication when she was pregnant.

Ms Carranza also said that Moreno put on the birth certificate that the father was dead. It took the family several years to correct this, she said.

Ms Carranza currently has the power of attorney for the boy, who has special needs. She has repeatedly said she believes the state failed her grandson after reported red flags were ignored.

The boy, who is now seven years old, remains in critical condition. She describes him as having the sweetest soul.

“He’s a hugger. He’s a smiler. He’s an embracer of life. There’s a lot of intelligence in him that needs to be nurtured,” Ms Carranza said.

“We were the family that was trying to throw up the red flags and saying, please help. Here we are. This was predictable and this was preventable.”

Andrea Cavallier14 February 2024 14:45


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