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Identification of Female Shooter at Joel Osteen’s Church Revealed; Gun Marked with ‘Free Palestine’ Unfolds New Details in the Incident


The woman who was killed after she opened fire at Joel Osteen’s packed Houston-area mega-church on Sunday, Feb. 11, has been named as Genesse Ivonne Moreno, 36, as authorities revealed “Free Palestine” was written on the weapon used in the attack.

Moreno entered Lakewood Church just before a Spanish language service was due to begin at 2 p.m. with a boy, believed to be about 4 or 5 years old, and opened fire as hundreds of people were taking their pews.

Two off-duty officers working security at the church — a Houston cop and an agent with the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission — returned fire and fatally shot Moreno, Houston Police Chief Troy Finner said Sunday.

The boy was also shot and has been hospitalized in critical condition.

When asked whether the child was shot by an officer, Finner declined to speculate, but said, “That female, that suspect, put that baby in danger. I’m going to put that blame on her.”

His relationship to Moreno was not immediately known.

Female shooter at Joel Osteen

Chilling video captured the start of a Spanish-language service suddenly being interrupted by a barrage of gunfire. Detectives said Moreno may have fired as many as 12 shots into the church before she was taken down.

Before Moreno died from her injuries, she poured an unknown substance on the floor and told officers that there was a bomb, but search of the area found no explosives.

Female shooter at Joel Osteen

Moreno has a criminal history dating back to 2005 and was previously arrested under the name Jeffery Escalante, according to local station KHOU, raising questions over whether the shooter was transitioning either before or at the time of the attack.

A 2022 photo taken when Moreno was booked into jail at Fort Bend County in Texas listed her sex as female, according to the website Mugshots Zone.

One 57-year-old civilian bystander was also shot in the leg, authorities said, adding that the man was hospitalized and in stable condition.

While law enforcement told ABC about Moreno’s gun’s being daubed with “Free Palestine,” a motive in the shooting remains unclear, and police are still investigating.

Investigators are also reviewing Moreno’s history of arrests, as they believe she has a record, law enforcement said.

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