¡Que Onda Magazine!

Houston's oldest bilingual publication

What We Know About the Lakewood Church Shooter

In a chilling update, Houston Police Chief Troy Finner disclosed on Monday afternoon that a 7-year-old child, caught in the crossfire as his mother unleashed gunfire amidst congregants at Lakewood Church’s Spanish-speaking service a day earlier, is now battling for his life. The announcement came as Houston Mayor John Whitmire and Chief Finner provided a comprehensive update on the investigation, precisely 24 hours post the harrowing incident.

The injured child, whose mother was identified as the assailant, remains in critical condition, while a 57-year-old man, also struck by gunfire, has been discharged from medical care.

Mayor Whitmire shed light on the suspect’s mental health, noting its potential role in the early stages of the inquiry. The assailant, identified as 36-year-old Genesse Ivonne Moreno, raised concerns about how she acquired firearms despite her mental health background. Shockingly, investigations revealed that the rifle utilized in the shooting had been legally obtained in December.

Overnight, first responders meticulously combed through evidence, with Houston Fire Department Chief Samuel Peña assuring that hazardous materials tests yielded no risk of chemical exposure during the church rampage.

Authorities seized two weapons from the scene, notably an AR-15 rifle adorned with a pro-Palestinian message, underscoring a possible political or ideological motive. Anti-Semitic writings were also recovered, hinting at deeper-rooted tensions, possibly linked to a dispute with Moreno’s ex-husband’s Jewish relatives.

Police clarified that Moreno acted alone, stressing that her family did not attend Lakewood’s services. Nonetheless, the incident has reignited concerns about security in places of worship, prompting plans for enhanced protective measures.

The FBI has joined forces with Houston Police in the ongoing investigation, although a definitive motive remains elusive at this stage.

According to the timeline provided by authorities, Moreno, clutching her young child and a bag containing a .22 caliber rifle, confronted a security officer at 1:53 p.m. on Sunday, demanding entry. Just two minutes later, she opened fire indiscriminately, injuring her own child and sparking a frantic exchange of gunfire with responding officers, resulting in her demise.

The incident unfolded amidst a packed congregation at Lakewood Church, with thousands of worshippers witnessing the chaos, underscoring the gravity of the tragedy.

As investigations continue, authorities urge anyone with pertinent information to come forward, as the community grapples with the aftermath of this senseless act of violence.