Lakewood Church security, HPD bodycam videos show woman's rampage with parishioners close by

Tuesday, February 27, 2024
Lakewood parishioners seen running from shooting rampage in new video
Lakewood Church security camera and Houston police bodycam videos were released two weeks after Genesse Moreno's rampage inside the megachurch.

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- Eyewitness News has gone through newly released videos showing the moments before and during Genesse Moreno's shooting rampage inside Lakewood Church earlier this month.

The Feb. 11 shooting occurred as the 36-year-old woman entered the megachurch, opened fire, and was confronted by two off-duty officers - one from Houston police, the other from the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission - who returned fire and shot Moreno dead.

Moreno brought her 7-year-old son Samuel, who suffered a gunshot to the head during the exchange and was treated since the ordeal with critical injuries.

The body camera footage released by Houston police showed the two off-duty officers with weapons drawn as they confronted Moreno.

The footage also showed blurred images of the shooter's young son. After he was shot, officers could be heard urgently asking for medical help for the boy.

Houston police released footage from two of its officers who were working security at Lakewood Church, as well as video from a Harris County Sheriff's Office deputy. It showed officers crouching with handguns out amid the sounds of repeated, loud gunshots.

Footage from one body camera showed people chatting before suddenly jolting at the sound of the first gunshot. Confused, some began running, and then rapid gunfire ensued. Bystanders could be seen taking cover in rooms and hallways as officers ran toward the sound of shots being fired.

Police say Moreno entered the church on Feb. 11 between Sunday services with her son and began firing an AR-style rifle. Moreno did not reach the main sanctuary and was killed after exchanging gunfire with two off-duty officers. Two people were wounded in the shooting, including Moreno's young son. He was shot in the head and remains hospitalized.

Security camera video from Lakewood, also released Monday by police, showed Moreno arriving at the church in a white SUV, taking her son, Samuel, out of the back seat, and walking toward the building. The woman was wearing a black shirt, striped pants, boots, and a loose-fitting tan-colored trench coat.

In the video footage, gunshots could be heard ringing throughout the church building as officers closed in on the source of the shooting.

"Put the weapon down, now," an officer can be heard shouting before firing his weapon. Another officer cautioned, "She may have a bomb."

Additional security video from the church, which didn't have sound, showed the boy covering his ears after his mother walked off-screen. She then came near him and he reached his arms out to her. She then walked off-screen again. The boy appeared to be in a recessed doorway.

"I mean she just appears. There is no time other than to take immediate action," Mark Stevens, a retired HPD detective, said.

Stevens explained officers inside the church were armed with pistols and Moreno with a rifle. He said this gave her the upper hand.

"Shooting a rifle is a distance thing. I mean, they can pick you off from a long way away. Those officers had to get close enough, so their shots were accurate," Stevens said.

In the footage, Moreno could be heard saying, "You killed my son." She later said, "Stand down, I have a bomb. I have a (expletive) bomb." Gunfire could be heard as she talked.

Images of the child, seen wearing orange pants and a yellow shirt, were blurred after he was wounded in the shooting. Paramedics were summoned by multiple officers, who requested help after seeing the young boy lying face-up in the carpeted hallway.

"We have a kid that's down, about three bullets to his head," one officer reported over his radio.

Houston police have not said who fired the shots that wounded the boy.

"I mean, it is traumatizing those officers are going to live with this the rest of their lives. There's no way around it," Stevens said.

Later, an officer reported over the radio, "Shooter is down. Looks like she's got something strapped to her chest." Another officer requested the bomb squad. Although a blue backpack could be seen near her side as she was down, authorities later said no explosives were found.

Houston Police Chief Troy Finner said in a statement on X, formerly known as Twitter, that the footage "may be unsettling to members of the community."

"While we know there are unanswered questions, this is still an active investigation," Finner said. "We will continue to work with our local, state, and federal law enforcement partners to thoroughly examine all aspects of this incident."

Police have told reporters that investigators were still trying to determine Moreno's motive and learn more about how she obtained the AR-style rifle she used.

In posts on Facebook from last week, Walli Carranza, the boy's grandmother, said that her grandson, Samuel, was breathing well on his own after doctors had removed a breathing tube. Carranza said Samuel has had six surgeries.

"Will he be able to have any semblance of a normal life? I have no idea," Carranza wrote in a post on Saturday.

On Sunday, Carranza said Samuel had looked up at her and smiled.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

ABC13's Lakewood shooting coverage

An investigation is underway after a deadly shooting was reported at Lakewood Church near the Southwest Freeway in Houston, Texas.