7-year-old son of Lakewood shooter barely clinging to life after being shot in head: grandmother

Walli Carranza (pictured) says her 7-year-old grandson, Samuel Moreno-Carranza, the son of the late Lakewood Church shooter, Genesse Ivonne Moreno, is fighting for his life at Texas Children's Hospital after being shot in the head.
Walli Carranza (pictured) says her 7-year-old grandson, Samuel Moreno-Carranza, the son of the late Lakewood Church shooter, Genesse Ivonne Moreno, is fighting for his life at Texas Children's Hospital after being shot in the head. | Screenshot/KHOU11

Samuel Moreno-Carranza, the 7-year-old son of late Lakewood Church shooter, Genesse Ivonne Moreno, is barely clinging to life at Texas Children's Hospital after being shot in the head during a gunfight between his mother and off-duty officers at the Houston megachurch, his grandmother says.

In an update on his condition shared on her Facebook page early Thursday morning, Walli Carranza, a Jewish rabbi and Moreno's former mother-in-law, said doctors are not yet sure whether the boy has any "significant brain activity."

"Samuel has lost a major part of what makes us who we are ... a portion of his frontal lobe. Half of his right skull has to be surgically removed during two surgeries done in less than 24 hours. He was in cardiac arrest multiple times, and no one can determine whether he has significant brain activity because his scalp tissue is too friable to allow the attachment of EEG wires," she wrote, lamenting about gun laws that she argues allowed the mentally unstable Moreno to put her grandson in danger.

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The rabbi previously blamed the local arm of Child Protective Services for not removing her grandson from the custody of his mother despite her documented history of violence and diagnosed mental illness. She repeated her criticism of the agency.

"Samuel had no protection of his God-given Right to Life! Because the very same legislators who claim to be 'pro-life' believe that unbridled gun rights matter and the right to life does not! Insanity!" she declared. "Because CPS of Harris and Montgomery County, despite more than 20 reports of neglect and medical abuse and medical neglect and reckless endangerment by the mother who was caught with guns in her diaper bag and purse and car DID NOTHING!"

She argued that while her former daughter-in-law was diagnosed with schizophrenia and anti-personality disorder, legislators have no "excuse" for the system that gave her access to guns.

"My faith tradition demands of me compassion and I have it for my deceased daughter-in-law. She had schizophrenia and now we know, anti-social personality disorder. Her brain was broken," the rabbi said. "What is the excuse for those who knew and did nothing and for legislators who refuse to allow red flag laws but do allow anyone to buy an assault weapon. Repeal the 2nd Amendment! The 1st means too much to allow the second."

Carranza advocated for red flag laws, which have been passed in over a dozen states. Such measures allow a state court to order firearms to be temporarily removed from any person deemed to present a danger to themselves or others. 

At a press conference Monday, Houston Police Department Commander of Homicide Christopher Hassig recounted how the tragic shooting at Joel Osteen's Lakewood Church unfolded last Sunday afternoon.

He said Moreno pulled up to the west side of the church building in a white vehicle at 1:53 p.m. that day with young Samuel, who has special needs, 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.

In a statement on Facebook Monday, Carranza asked for prayers for her grandson and said even if the police officers are "found responsible" for shooting her grandson, she blames Moreno's mental illness, Texas Child Protective Services and the state's laws that allowed her ex-daughter-in-law to have a gun for what happened to him.

"As we try to make sense of this completely preventable horror, we want to make three things absolutely clear. First, although my former daughter-in-law raged against Israel and Jews in a pro-Palestinian rant yesterday this has nothing to do with Judaism or Islam. Nothing! But this is what happens when reckless and irresponsible reporting let's people with severe mental illness have an excuse for violence," Carranza wrote.

"Second, no one may ever blame a police officer who carries out his or her rightful duty to save lives even if they are found responsible for shooting my grandson. The fault lies in a child protective services of Montgomery County and Harris County that refused to remove custody from a woman with known mental illness that was not being treated and with the state of Texas for not having strong red flag laws that would have prevented her from owning or possessing a gun," she continued. "Let it be clear that the second amendment stops where the first amendment right to life begins and it's time to remove from the U.S. Constitution any protection for gun ownership."

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

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