HOUSTON – Law enforcement authorities in Houston have identified the suspect who opened fire at Joel Osteen’s Lakewood Church on Sunday.
The shooter was identified as Genesse Ivonne Moreno, 36, who has also used the name Jeffrey Escalante from El Salvador, Fox News Digital reported. A motive for the shooting remains unclear.
The shooting occurred Sunday afternoon before the Houston megachurch’s 2 p.m. Spanish service was scheduled to start. The suspect burst into the church with a long rifle, wearing a backpack and a trench coat and accompanied by a 5-year-old child, Houston Police Chief Troy Finner said.
Two people were injured – a 57-year-old man and the child who came with the suspect. (Note: Updated reports are listing the boy as a 7-year-old). The child remains hospitalized in critical condition, and is not expected to survive, a Montgomery County District Attorney’s Office spokesperson told the Houston Chronicle.
Two off-duty officers working security at the church — Houston Officer Christopher Moreno, who is not related to the shooter, and Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission Agent Adrian Herrera — returned fire and fatally shot Moreno, officials said during a Monday afternoon press briefing, the New York Post reported.
When asked whether the boy was shot by an off-duty officer, Finner declined to speculate, but said on Sunday, “That female, that suspect, put that baby in danger. I’m going to put that blame on her.”
The boy’s relationship to Moreno was not immediately known.
According to a search warrant affidavit, Moreno pointed an AR-15 at the officers who then fired upon the shooter in self-defense, killing the individual. Investigators documented that a “Free Palestine” sticker was attached to the rifle used in the attack, according to Fox.
Moreno’s residence is believed to be in the city of Conroe, which is north of Houston, and part of the criminal probe.
On Monday, Officer Christopher Hassig of the Houston Police Department said Moreno had a mental health history that was “documented with police.”
Hassig also noted that Moreno had penned some “antisemitic writings” that were discovered during their preliminary investigation.
Investigators now believe there was a “familial dispute” between Moreno’s ex-husband and his family, some of whom are Jewish, Hassig confirmed.
“So we believe that might be where all of this stems from,” Hassig said. “We are going to be delving into that more. But we do want to stress that she acted alone.”
Members of the Texas Rangers, the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office the Houston and Conroe Police Departments, as well as the FBI, are involved in the ongoing investigation.