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Lakewood shooter ‘donated money to megachurch’ before attack that left son fighting for life

Lakewood Church shooterGenesse Moreno reportedly donated money to the Texas megachurch years before she took her seven-year-old son to the religious institution and opened fire inside.

On Sunday, the 36-year-old walked into Joel Osteen’s megachurch around 1.50pm with her seven-year-old son and armed with an AR-15 rifle.

Inside, she began shooting in the hallway of the building, sending worshippers running for cover.

Two off-duty police officers returned fire, fatally shooting Moreno. Her seven-year-old son was also shot in the head amid the chaos.

Her son was rushed to hospital where he remains in critical condition. Another victim – a 57-year-old man – was also shot in the leg; he has since been released from the hospital.

Years before the shooting, however, Moreno’s social media posts have revealed that she once sent money to the megachurch where she then chose to carry out her attack, CNN reported.

Genesse Moreno in mug shot (Supplied)
Genesse Moreno in mug shot (Supplied)

In March 2020, she posted a screenshot of a letter from Lakewood Church thanking her for her donation.

Moreno’s social media accounts have since been taken down.

The Independent has reached out to the Houston Police Department for more information but has not been able to independently verify the post or the donation.

The motive of the shooting remains unclear, but Houston Police Department Commander Christopher Hassig said that Moreno penned “antisemitic writings” prior to the shooting and was in the middle of a familial dispute with her ex-husband, whose family is Jewish.

“We think this is where this stems from,” he said.

The AR-15 used in the attack also had a sticker reading “Palestine” on it, police said.

Police said that Moreno had a “documented mental health history” – something that has been echoed by her ex-husband’s family and divorce records.

A woman who identified herself on Facebook as Moreno’s former mother-in-law said that Moreno “was taking medication for schizophrenia”.

Divorce records from Montgomery County, obtained by Fox26, state that Moreno was diagnosed as “schizophrenic” and had a “history of erratic paranoid, stalking behaviour and was diagnosed as exhibiting Munchausen by proxy”.

She once stored a loaded gun in her then-three-year-old son’s diaper bag, the records state.

Police also said that Moreno went by several “aliases” including some male names.

Criminal records also identify her as Jeffery Escalante — with the middle name Genesse. Despite the male name, authorities said, through “all the investigation to this point, she has been identified the entire time as female”.

Thr criminal records, seen by The Independent, show Moreno had an expansive criminal history spanning from 2005 to 2022, including arrests including for assault, marijuana possession, forgery, theft, and unlawful carrying of a weapon.

With the exception of the arrest pertaining to her alleged unlawful carrying of a weapon in 2022, all of the arrests are under the name Jeffery Escalante.