Officials credit off-duty officers who 'held their ground' in Lakewood shooting

Tuesday, February 13, 2024
Officials credit officers who 'held their ground' in Lakewood shooting
13 Investigates spoke with Lakewood Church's previous director of security to learn more about the security plan it had in place.

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- As investigators try to figure out why 36-year-old Genesse Moreno opened fire inside the Lakewood Church, they are crediting two officers for stopping her assault within minutes.

13 Investigates spoke with the megachurch's previous director of security to learn more about the security plan it had in place.

Ron Crowel, who told us he went on medical leave about a year ago, said he developed a mass shooting plan at Lakewood about 10 years ago that included four different areas where they could secure children and lock down in the event of an active shooter.

He also said, at least while in charge, on Sundays, he would have at least a dozen officers hired from various local agencies to provide security and about 100 volunteer, unarmed security guards he referred to as "ministry assistants."

SEE ALSO: Suspect legally purchased rifle used in Lakewood Church shooting, HPD says

Law enforcement officials credited police presence with saving lives.

"We are extremely thankful for the quick response of the two officers working security at the church at the time that engaged the shooter. I think all of us here would agree that if it weren't for them, the number of casualties and victims would've been much higher," Doug Williams, special agent in charge of the FBI Houston field office, said.

At a news conference on Monday, Houston police investigators said Moreno arrived at the church Sunday afternoon armed with an AR-15 and a .22-caliber rifle.

Police said after pointing the AR-15 at a security guard, she made her way inside and started firing, but two off-duty officers - HPD Officer Christopher Moreno and Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission Officer Adrian Herrera - took her down.

Neither officer was injured, but both are on paid leave, which is standard after officers open fire.

"These two officers held their ground. They held their ground in the face of rifle fire at point blank range, and they continued to fire until the perpetrator was neutralized, and they did not yield," TABC Chairman Kevin Lilly said.

13 Investigates reached out to Lakewood Church and its head of security on Monday, but we've been unable to speak with anyone.

For updates on this story, follow Kevin Ozebek on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

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