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Barrage of gunfire as officers confront Houston megachurch shooter, released body cam footage shows

Feb 26, 2024, 2:41 PM | Updated: 2:54 pm

HOUSTON (AP) — Body camera footage released by Houston police on Monday showed off-duty officers with weapons drawn as they confronted a woman who opened fire at celebrity pastor Joel Osteen’s Houston megachurch earlier this month before she was gunned down.

Houston police released footage from two of its officers who were 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.

The gunshots rang throughout the church building as officers closed in on the source of the shooting. “Put the weapon down, now,” an officer can be heard saying before firing his weapon. Another officer cautioned, “she may have a bomb.”

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.

Police say Genesse Moreno, 36, entered the church on Feb. 11 between Sunday services with her 7-year-old 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.

Images of the child, seen wearing orange pants and a yellow shirt, were blurred after he was wounded in the shooting. “We have a kid that’s down, about three bullets to his head” one officer reported on over his radio.

Paramedics were summoned by multiple officers, who requested help after seeing the young boy seen laying face-up on the carpeted hallway.

(backslash)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.

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Barrage of gunfire as officers confront Houston megachurch shooter, released body cam footage shows