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Texas megachurch shooter had history of criminal charges and mental illness

by Heather Preston

A woman who opened fire at Lakewood Church, Texas on Sunday had a lengthy criminal history, including gun charges.

Off-duty officers at the megachurch of televangelist and pastor Joel Osteen gunned down the shooter, named Genesse Moreno, who was with her seven-year-old son.

Police state the officers “shot and killed her in self-defence” after she pointed her weapon at them.

The child remains in critical condition following a shot to the head during the gunfire.

A 57-year-old man was shot in the hip during the incident and has since been discharged from hospital.

While investigators said the attacker had a ‘Palestine’ sticker on her weapon, no clear motive has been declared.

According to local reports, Moreno, 36, was first arrested on a misdemeanor charge in 2005 and has since had regular run-ins with the law with charges ranging from drug possession and assault to theft and forgery.

In 2022, she was arrested for the unlawful carrying of a weapon according to reports seen by ABC news.

The weapon used in Sunday’s attack has been identified as a legally obtained AR-15, while a .22 caliber weapon, which was not used in the attack was also found in Moreno’s bag, according to police.

During a news conference on Monday, officials said the shooter used multiple aliases, including both male and female names and had a history of mental illness known to Houston police, including an emergency detention order in 2016. Detectives are said to be investigating the role mental health may have played in the church attack.

Court divorce records show ex-husband Enrique Carranza, who referred to Moreno as 'Jeffrey' said she was abusive, a drug user and a diagnosed schizophrenic. Carranza, a registered sex offender, raised concerns over the safety of their son under Moreno's care. Divorce documents show Moreno also accused Carranza of abusive behaviour. He is currently in prison for failing to register as a sex offender.

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