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Shooter at Joel Osteen’s church had schizophrenia, ex-MIL says

The New York Daily News - 2/13/2024

The weekend gunfire inside televangelist Joel Osteen’s Houston megachurch was a “completely preventable horror” given the shooter, Genesse Moreno, had well-documented struggles with schizophrenia, her former mother-in-law wrote in a fiery Facebook post.

“My daughter-in-law when she was taking medication for schizophrenia was a very sweet and loving woman,” Walli Carranza, the mother-in-law of 36-year-old Genesse Moreno wrote in a Facebook post Monday. “But mental illness is real illness and when family members seek emergency protections they’re not doing so for their own sake but for the sake of the person who is ill.”

Moreno, wrapped up in a trench coat with her 7-year-old son by her side, entered Lakewood Church and opened fire with a semi-automatic rifle on Sunday, shortly before the Spanish service around 2 p.m. While the attack happened in between services at the popular megachurch, it was still bustling with worshippers at the time.

Two people were wounded, including the gunwoman’s son, before Moreno was killed by law enforcement. The boy, who was struck in the head, remains in critical condition. It’s still unclear whether he was shot by his mother or responding officers.

“No one may ever blame a police officer who carries out his or her rightful duty to save lives even if they are found responsible for shooting my grandson,” Carranza wrote.

“The fault lies in a child protective services of Montgomery County and Harris County that refused to remove custody from a woman with known mental illness that was not being treated and with the state of Texas for not having strong red flag laws that would have prevented her from owning or possessing a gun,” she continued. “Let it be clear that the second amendment stops where the first amendment right to life begins and it’s time to remove from the US Constitution any protection for gun ownership.”

While a motive for the violence remains under investigation, authorities are looking into a possible family dispute involving Moreno and the family of her ex-husband.

Moreno was married to a man named Enrique Carranza III until 2022, when their divorce was finalized, according to court documents obtained by ABC News. In an affidavit filed in 2020 related to divorce and custody proceedings, Enrique described Moreno’s mental health issues and alleged that she had been violent towards him and their son.

“As soon as we married, my wife became abusive,” Carranza said in his affidavit, adding she was “a diagnosed schizophrenic, so daily it was a new battle or fight in her realm” and that he let her put him “through hell to appease her delusional thought pattern.”

He also recalled an instance around Christmas 2019, when his estranged wife “called the cops on me twice and both times she had a gun and my son in her hand,” according to his affidavit.

“She is a diagnosed schizophrenic and [Child Protective Services] has told her that she cannot have a gun,” he said. “I am afraid of her having my address. She has guns and she brags about it while having my son in the car.”

A separate affidavit filed by his mother, Carranza, echoed the concerns and allegations outlined by Enrique.

In January 2020, Moreno “pulled an unlocked and loaded gun from underneath a seat in the car and pointed it at the head” of Carranza, “only hours after a first unlocked and loaded handgun was found” by their then-3-year-old son “in his own diaper bag,” according to the ex-mother-in-law’s affidavit. She added that Moreno should not have been allowed to own a weapon, claiming that under an alias, she had been under involuntary psychiatric commitment at least four times.

With News Wire Services

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