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Neighbours claim Lakewood Church shooter ‘intimidated them with guns and Nazi salutes’

Neighbours claim Lakewood Church shooter ‘intimidated them with guns and Nazi salutes’

For several years before she opened fire inside Joel Osteen’s Lakewood Church in Houston, Genesse Moreno’s neighbours say she intimidated them with guns and made Nazi salutes.

Moreno, 36, walked into the megachurch on Sunday just before a Spanish-language service was set to begin armed with an AR-15 emblazoned with a sticker that read “Palestine,” police said.

Inside, she opened fire.

Two off-duty officers confronted her in the hallway, and the trio exchanged gunfire until Moreno fell to the ground.

She was pronounced dead at the scene.

Her seven-year-old son, who she had taken with her when she carried out the attack, was struck by a bullet and is in critical condition in hospital.

In the days following the shooting, investigators are trying to piece together a motive while new disturbing details are emerging about her life.

Neighbours in the Conroe – a north Houston suburb – have spoken out to claim that Moreno was often seen with multiple guns, harassed and threatened and made them fearful in their own neighbourhood.

"Her way of intimidation was to bring the gun cases in and out, crossbows. She’d come out, have her gun cases, do heil Hitler, flip you off, call you the b-word, or something. It was something every day,” one neighbour told KPRC.

Genesse Moreno (Supplied)
Genesse Moreno (Supplied)

Another neighbour said Moreno had scrawled swastikas on her property and taunted her and her grandchildren multiple times. Another claimed she tried to run them over.

“I’ve been through hell. I have reported this, reported this and its gone on deaf ears,” said Jill, a neighbour. “I’ve had psychological officers out here that won’t answer their door, they won’t do anything, until she hurts you there is nothing we can do. Everyone keeps saying on all these big news stations, see something say something.”

Jill, the president of the neighborhood association, added that the group – all women – have filed multiple police reports, but nothing has ever been resolved.

“No one should have died. No one should have been hurt. This should have been handled years ago, and here we are again,” she said.

On Sunday night, officials including the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) searched Moreno’s home in Conroe.

The home is about 50 minutes north of Lakewood Church. Evidence was collected from the property, CNN reported.

Officials searched the home connected to the suspect in Conroe (AP)
Officials searched the home connected to the suspect in Conroe (AP)

While the motive for the shooting remains unclear, investigators said that Moreno had a sticker which read “Palestine” on the butt of her AR-15 rifle.

Police have also since recovered some antisemitic writings, they said.

At the time of the shooting, police said that Moreno was in the midst of a familial dispute with her ex-husband and his family, who are Jewish, and think it could stem from the dispute.

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