Chilling bodycam footage captures moment shooter opened fire in Joel Osteen’s megachurch

The footage shows people, including children, running from gunfire as officers ran toward the gunshots

Martha McHardy
Tuesday 27 February 2024 19:35 GMT
Lakewood Church shooting: Bodycam released

Chilling bodycam footage released on Monday shows the moment a shooter opened fire at Joel Osteen’s megachurch on 11 February.

Houston police released footage from two officers who were at Lakewood Church when a female shooter opened fire, injuring a 57-year-old man. A seven-year-old boy, believed to be the shooter’s son, was also injured in the incident, however, it is not clear who he was shot by.

The footage shows people, including children, running from gunfire as officers ran toward the gunshots.

Gunfire can be heard in the background as officers scream “Put the weapon down, now”, at the suspect.

Another officer is then heard saying, “She may have a bomb.”

The shooter, identified as 36-year-old Genesse Ivonne Moreno, can also be heard threatening to “blow up” the church.

Police later searched Moreno’s backpack and found no explosives.

The female shooter is seen holding up an AR-style rifle
The female shooter is seen holding up an AR-style rifle (Houston Police Department)

Moreno is believed to have entered the church with her son, armed with an AR-15 rifle with the word “Palestine” across it, as worshippers piled in for a service on Sunday 11 February, before she began shooting.

After she fired off multiple rounds, two off-duty officers confronted Moreno in the hallway of the church and she was killed in an exchange of gunfire.

Her young child was struck in the head by a bullet and was taken to the hospital where he remains in critical condition. Authorities have not confirmed how he was struck.

The shooter was killed in an exchange of gunfire
The shooter was killed in an exchange of gunfire (Houston Police Department via AP)

In the bodycam footage, a female officer can be heard praying over the seven-year-old.

“Father God, please bring him close to you,” she can be heard saying, “Please bring him close to you.”

Following the shooting, the church’s lead pastor Joel Osteen said his congregation would be praying for the seven-year-old boy and the female shooter.

“We’re going to stay strong,” he said. “We’re going to continue to move forward.”

He added that the shooting “could’ve been a lot worse.”

“We know God’s in control,” he said.

The suspect is now deceased after being confronted by two off-duty police officers
The suspect is now deceased after being confronted by two off-duty police officers (AP)

Houston Police said investigators are still trying to determine Moreno’s motive.

Christopher Hassig, the city’s police commander, added that investigators recovered some antisemitic writings following the shooting.

Commander Hassig also revealed that at the time of the shooting, Moreno was in the midst of a familial dispute with her ex-husband and his family, who are Jewish. “We think this is where this stems from,” he said.

However, officials urged against speculation, saying that the investigation is still in the early stages.

“It’s way too early to determine a motive for the shooter’s actions and we’re not in the business of speculating,” said Doug Williams, FBI’s special agent in charge of the Houston field office.

Commander Hassig added that Moreno purchased the AR-style rifle legally in December.

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