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Joel Osteen talks with reporters. Previous mugshot of Genesse ivonne Moreno. Photos: video, Houston Police.

Shooter at Joel Olsteen’s church had ‘Free Palestine’ written on rifle

The shooter at Joel Osteen’s church may have been connected to pro-Palestine protests.

Genesse Ivonne Moreno, who was identified through a warrant, reportedly entered the Lakeland Church in Houston on Sunday afternoon during the Hispanic church service. Moreno walked into the church with a child and an AR-15 rifle with the word “Palestine” written on it, according to NBC news.  Moreno yelled at churchgoers during the incident but police declined to describe what was said other than Moreno claimed to carry a bomb.

During the attack, Moreno shot a man and the child was injured in crossfire with police. An off-duty Houston Police Department officer and a Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission officer engaged with the suspect, according to Houston Police Chief Troy Finner.

One of the officers said they saw the suspect in possession of a “yellow in color rope and substances consistent with the manufacture of explosive devices, which appeared to be a detonation cord.” Investigators have not been able to determine whether Moreno’s threat of having a bomb was credible.

When Moreno pointed a weapon at the first responding officers, they shot and killed Moreno in self-defense, according to the document.

During the search warrant on Monday, investigators seized all electronic devices that belonged to Moreno, an El Salvadoran immigrant, in hopes they would reveal information or a motive related to the shooting. Antisemitic materials were discovered in print, as well as on the divices.

Officials assert there’s a wide range of multiple motives. They have not ruled out terrorism or hate crime-related motives.

Houston Mayor John Whitmire on Monday addressed the city’s “diverse community,” promising, “We are going to provide you protection.”

“Our community is devastated by today’s events and grateful for the swift actions of law enforcement,” Osteen wrote on social media. “Please join me in continued prayer for healing and peace.”

Antisemitic incidents have spiked across the country since Hamas’s invasion of Israel on Oct. 7.

–Metro Voice and wire services


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