Suspect’s Son Critically Injured in Texas Megachurch Shooting

HOUSTON, TX - JUNE 02: Pastor Joel Osteen and Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner talk at a march in honor of George Floyd on June 2, 2020 in Houston, Texas. Members of George Floyd's family participated in a march that went from Discovery Green to City Hall with support from the local chapter of Black Lives Matter. George Floyd, a former resident of Houston's Third Ward, died after being held down by Derek Chauvin, a former member of the Minneapolis Police Department who has since been fired and charged with third degree murder.

Authorities revealed on Monday that the young boy who was tragically injured in a shooting at a Texas megachurch on Sunday is actually the son of the shooter.

During a press conference, law enforcement officials revealed that the individual responsible for the shooting has been identified as Genesse Ivonne Moreno, aged 36. They also disclosed that Moreno has a documented history of mental illness, which includes being placed under emergency detention in 2016.

The young child, who authorities have stated is 7 years old, is currently in critical condition with a gunshot wound to the head. He was referred to as a 5-year-old on Sunday.

The motive behind the attack that caused worshippers to flee for safety during crowded services at Joel Osteen’s Lakewood Church is still unknown. According to authorities, Moreno was fatally shot by security officers after allegedly brandishing a weapon.

According to authorities, a man in his 50s was also injured in the shooting, in addition to the boy. Lakewood attracts a staggering 45,000 people every week, solidifying its position as the third-largest megachurch in the United States, as reported by the Hartford Institute for Religion Research.

Osteen mentioned that the severity of the violence could have been greater if the shooting had occurred during the earlier and more crowded late Sunday morning service.

During a news conference on Sunday, Houston Police Chief Troy Finner provided details about the shooter’s appearance and weaponry. The individual was seen wearing a trenchcoat and carrying a backpack, while armed with a long rifle, as they entered the church.

According to Finner, Moreno started shooting until two off-duty officers, a Houston police officer and a Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission agent, confronted him and fired back.

Finner mentioned that the individual who fired the shots claimed there was a bomb, but a thorough search revealed no evidence of any explosives. The search warrant affidavit also mentioned the discovery of a potential bomb, describing the presence of a yellow color rope and substances that could be used in the production of explosive devices.

Finner and other authorities at the scene commended the officers, who have not been identified, for swiftly apprehending the shooter.

Finner commented that Moreno possessed a long gun, implying that the situation could have escalated further. “However, they rose to the occasion and fulfilled their responsibilities.”

The circumstances surrounding the incident, in which a young boy was transported to a children’s hospital in Houston, remain unclear.

When questioned about the possibility of the boy being shot by one of the off-duty officers who were returning fire on the suspect, Finner refrained from making any speculative statements. However, he emphasized the fact that the suspect had put the baby in danger.

Church Shooting Panic: Member Describes Sheltering, Osteen’s Impact, and Renovation

HOUSTON, TX – SEPTEMBER 03: Parishioners of the Lakewood Church led by Pastor Joel Osteen pray together during a service at the church as the city starts the process of rebuilding after severe flooding during Hurricane and Tropical Storm Harvey on September 3, 2017 in Houston, Texas. Pastor Osteen drew criticism after initially not opening the doors of his church to victims of Hurricane Harvey. Harvey, which made landfall north of Corpus Christi on August 25, dumped around 50 inches of rain in and around areas of Houston and Southeast Texas.


The sound of gunshots caused alarm among the worshippers. Alan Guity, a long-standing member of the church since 1998, hails from Honduras. He mentioned hearing gunshots while taking a break inside the church’s sanctuary while his mother was working as an usher.

Guity, 35, recounted how he sought refuge with his mother, taking cover on the floor as the gunfire persisted. They remained on the floor, praying, for approximately five minutes until they received confirmation that it was safe to exit the building. As he was escorted outside, Guity observed the fear and anguish on people’s faces as they desperately searched for their loved ones.

Osteen, 60, assumed leadership of Lakewood Church following the passing of his father, John Osteen, the church’s founding pastor, in 1999. The church has experienced significant growth under his guidance.

Osteen is recognized as a prominent figure in the realm of the prosperity gospel, a theological perspective that emphasizes God’s desire for his followers to experience abundance and well-being. He has written multiple books that have become best-sellers, one of which is “Your Best Life Now: 7 Steps to Living at Your Full Potential.”

The televised services have a wide global reach, spanning across approximately 100 countries. The church’s arena underwent a significant renovation, with a price tag of nearly $100 million.

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