Lakewood Church Shooter's History of Threatening Behavior Was Known to Authorities Years Before Attack

Police car with siren. (Credit: Unsplash/Ahmet Kurt)

Genesse Ivonne Moreno, the individual who opened fire at Joel Osteen’s Lakewood Church in Houston, reportedly had a troubling history of harassment and threats toward her neighbors years before she carried out the attempted mass shooting on Sunday. A new report brings to light new disturbing details about Moreno’s past confrontations and mental health issues and could shed light on the possible motives for the shooting.


Moreno was known to her neighbors in Conroe for her unsettling behavior. The neighbors alerted the authorities about her behavior but to no avail.

Years before a shooter opened fire at Joel Osteen’s Lakewood Church in Houston, residents in the small neighborhood said they had run-ins with the suspect, who frightened them.

Six women who live in the neighborhood in Conroe, a north Houston suburb, said the woman, Genesse Ivonne Moreno, targeted them, harassed them, threatened them, displayed firearms and made them fear being outside their homes.

Late Monday afternoon, the women held a news conference in the driveway of a home to describe what they said they have been enduring and to criticize what they said was officials’ failure to respond to their reports about Moreno.

“No one should have died. No one should have been hurt. This should have been handled years ago, and here we are again,” said Jill, the president of the neighborhood association, who would not give her last name for fear of retaliation.

The press conference underscores frustrations over missed opportunities to prevent the brutal attack. As the investigation continues, questions about the shooter’s motivations remain unanswered. RedState's streiff reported that were indications that Moreno could have been motivated, at least in part, by anti-Jewish bigotry and mental health problems.

Additionally, authorities provided some clarification regarding the reported writing/sticker on the weapon.

Authorities stated that the buttstock of the AR-15 she wielded featured a sticker of the word “Palestine.” Previous reports incorrectly stated the long gun featured the words “Free Palestine.” Hassig stated “antisemitic writings” have been discovered in subsequent investigations into Genesse.

Authorities also provided some additional background that may point to a potential motive.

Hassig also stated the shooter had a history of mental health illness and was previously put under emergency detention orders by Houston police. Genesse appears to have legally purchased at least one of the guns used in the attack as recently as December. The commander stated the shooter may have been embroiled in a familial dispute with the family of an ex-husband.

“We do believe there was a familial dispute between her and her ex-husband’s family, and some of those people are Jewish,” Hassig said.


Moreno’s assault was stopped by two off-duty police officers who returned fire, killing her. A 57-year-old man and Moreno’s seven-year-old son were wounded during the shooting.

One of the shooter’s neighbors told reporters that they could not “do anything more than what we did” and that they “tried to stop this.”

Another resident recounted how Moreno had “screamed expletives” and aimed a handgun at her during one altercation. Despite alerting the authorities about the shooter’s behavior, it does not appear that any meaningful action was taken.

The women who spoke said things got so bad in the neighborhood that five of them spent a day about five months ago talking to local elected officials, police, the sheriff’s office and the city’s legal department. They wrote letters to the neighborhood’s property management company and met with its lawyer, and they called media, said Linda Giutta, who lives in the neighborhood.

The shooter had a lengthy history of mental health problems that were known to law enforcement.

Moreno had a documented mental health history and was placed under an emergency detention order by Houston police in 2016. Law enforcement records show she was arrested several times since 2005. She pleaded guilty to illegally carrying a weapon and pleaded to a lesser charge after authorities accused her of assaulting a public official.

As the community grapples with the fallout from the tragedy, there are still questions about the response of law enforcement to repeated reports of the shooter’s mental instability and violent behavior. Apparently, there were glaring warning signs in the years leading up to the assault that went unaddressed. In this way, this shooting is similar to others in which the attacker’s issues were known beforehand.



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