Neighbors of Lakewood Church shooter say she was a threat for years, but police offered no help

Genesse Ivonne Moreno
Genesse Ivonne Moreno | YouTube/JLR© INVESTIGATES!

Neighbors of suspected Lakewood Church shooter, Genesse Ivonne Moreno, say for years, they warned law enforcement and elected officials in Conroe, Texas, that she was a menace to society, but no one took their cries seriously until it was too late.

“No one should have died. No one should have been hurt. This should have been handled years ago, and here we are again,” Jill, the president of the neighborhood association  in the north Houston suburb where Moreno resided told NBC News.

Jill, who did not share her surname out of fear of retaliation, was among six women from the neighborhood who told the news outlet that the mentally troubled Moreno, who family members say struggled with a type of schizophrenia that made her violent, caused them to be afraid to be outside their homes. They said Moreno harassed and threatened them and displayed firearms.

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Another neighbor who identified herself as Heather, said she complained to police in Conroe on July 4, 2022, after Moreno threatened her with a handgun. She explained that early that morning she was watering her plants when the late 36-year-old screamed expletives at her. She said when she walked over to Moreno’s house, she points the handgun at her from behind the trunk of her car.

"We're being told ‘see something, say something.’ Well, we're seeing stuff, we are saying stuff ... and Conroe PD is not helping us," Heather said. "I don't want to bash them but help us. Please."

Officials with the Conroe Police Department maintain after a review that the complaints against Moreno, that they were handled appropriately.

"The review revealed that Conroe Police personnel handled the calls appropriately and according to law," they said in a statement to NBC News. "Nothing relayed to officers would give authority to arrest or require mental health emergency detention; nor would any of the information have been an indication that the suspect would commit such a heinous crime."

The women insisted however that just five months ago, after the situation deteriorated, five of them met with local elected officials, police, the sheriff’s office, and the city’s legal department about addressing it.

Linda Giutta, who also lives in the neighborhood, said a cease-and-desist order was issued after that meeting. She further wrote letters to the neighborhood's property management company, met with its lawyer, and they called the media.

“We cannot do anything more than what we did. We tried to stop this,” Giutta said. “We tried to help her. We tried to help us. We tried to help the public. Something needs to get done.”

In a recording of Moreno that was made about four years ago and  published on YouTube, the suspected Lakewood shooter appeared much different than the person who put her 7-year-old son in harm’s way.

In fact, Moreno raised concern about teachers and children having relationships online.

“I mean there has been many studies done where teachers and student have been communicating with each other and then they find out it was the teacher the whole time or you know it's just vice versa,” said Moreno who introduced herself as Jeffrey in the video.

“Fake accounts are a big thing because you know, you don't know if this teacher is working under a fictitious name. Just like they can create that they can create fictitious identities,” she said.

“Now you might think I'm going over the top but what about if that account is by a teacher or someone posing as a teacher and could be a sex offender, could be psycho, could, have killed someone you'd never know.”

In a recounting of the shooting at Lakewood Church, Houston Police Department's Commander of Homicide Christopher Hassig said at a press conference Monday that Moreno pulled up to the west side of the church building in a white vehicle at 1:53 p.m. on Sunday with her son in tow.

"She gets out of her white vehicle. She opens the door, pulls the 7-year-old child out of the backseat as well as a bag that is with her," he said.

Moreno then "confronts a security guard who lets her in along the west side of the building" at 1:55 p.m.

Moreno "immediately starts firing" after entering a hallway of the church.

The off-duty officers, who were working approved security jobs for the church, engaged Moreno in a gunfight. Moreno and the child are then brought down in a hail of bullets. Hassig said the child was shot once in the head but did not say who shot the child.

"Multiple rounds are fired by her at which point Officer Moreno of the Houston Police Department working an approved extra job at the location as well as TABC agent Herrera returned fire and the exchange is all there on the west side of the building," Hassig said.

"In the hallway, multiple shots are exchanged by all three. She eventually falls to the ground. The 7-year-old child falls to the ground as well from gunfire — one gunshot wound to the head."

Moreno was pronounced dead by Houston Fire Department personnel at 2:07 p.m. Hassig said, her son remains hospitalized in "critical condition."

Two weapons were recovered from the scene, including a .22 caliber rifle, which was not used in the shooting, and an AR-15 with a "Palestine" sticker, which Moreno fired at the officers.

Moreno’s former mother in law,  Rabbi  Walli Carranza, and the suspected Lakewood shooter’s ex-husband, Enrique Carranza III who divorced her in 2022, both testified that she was abusive and mentally unsound in public statements and court documents as previously reported by The Christian Post.

Moreno argued in her filings that it was her ex-husband who was abusive to her. In a December 2021 affidavit filed under the name "Jeffrey Moreno-Carranza," she alleged that her ex-husband was "a convicted sex offender" and had "multiple" DWI charges.

She said during their marriage Carranza III “physically assaulted me on numerous occasions that made me fear for my safety and the safety of my son."

In March 2023, Carranza III was found guilty by a Florida jury of Failure to Comply with Sex Offender Requirements after having been previously convicted of Attempted Sexual Assault on a Child in Colorado.

"I have always been the primary caregiver for my son," Moreno said in her 2021 affidavit.

She argued that her ex-husband "has never cared" for their son "by himself and furthermore, he is not capable of caring for a child with special needs."

Contact: Follow Leonardo Blair on Twitter: @leoblair Follow Leonardo Blair on Facebook: LeoBlairChristianPost

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