Friday, March 1, 2024

Shooter at Joel Osteen’s Lakewood Church Wrote ‘Free Palestine’ on Gun

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Gunfire erupted inside one of America’s biggest churches Sunday. A shooting at Joel Osteen’s Lakewood Church in Houston injured two people before the shooter was killed. Police are praising the quick response of two off-duty officers for preventing a greater tragedy.

Video showed a livestream in Spanish from Lakewood shortly before an afternoon service. Then shots can be heard as the shooting began.

Houston police say a woman in her early 30s wearing a trench coat entered the church with a rifle and immediately opened fire. The rifle had “Free Palestine” written on it, according to a federal law enforcement source.

KHOU and other sources are now reporting the identity of the shooter as Genesse Ivonne Moreno, a transgender person who was previously identified as Jeffrey Escalante during prior arrests for assault and other crimes.

Eyewitnesses from the church describe the terrifying moments when the shooting took place. Levi Andrade who was in the church said, “I was just walking up the stairs and when I got on top they started shooting. I don’t know, I just heard more than 10 shots.”

Another eyewitness, Alan Guity, said, “They were repetitive, Boom, boom, boom, boom. And I yelled, ‘Mom!'”

Two off-duty police officers working at the church shot and killed the attacker.

A young boy between four and five years of age, who was with the shooter, was hit by gunfire and was listed in critical condition overnight at a Houston area hospital.

A 57-year-old man in the church was shot in the leg and is also being treated.

At a press conference after the shooting, Houston Police Chief Troy Finner said, “That female, that suspect put that baby in danger. I’m going to put that blame on her.” 

Police say before the shooter died she claimed to have a bomb, but officers found no explosives. 

Pastor Joel Osteen praised the swift actions of law enforcement and said the church is praying for the victims and the shooter’s family.

“Of course, we’re devastated,” Osteen said. “We’re going to pray for that little five-year-old boy and pray for the lady that was deceased, her family and all, and and the other gentleman. There are forces of evil, but the forces that are for us, the forces of God, are stronger than that. So we’re going to keep going strong and doing what God’s called us to do: lift people up and give hope to the world.”



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