AR-15 had 'Palestine' sticker, antisemitic writings recovered, police say
HOUSTON -- By the time Genesse Moreno walked into Texas' Lakewood Church on Sunday afternoon and opened fire, she already had left a trail of police encounters, court records, and social media posts her estranged say should have raised "red flags."
Moreno, 36, was first arrested on misdemeanor charges back in 2005. Over the next 19 years, she had semi-regular contact with law enforcement. Charges ranged from forgery to assault to theft. Her last arrest before the church shooting was in 2022 by the Katy Police Department.
Court records show officers found two weapons in her car during a traffic stop. She served two days in jail, and authorities destroyed the guns.
Still, our sister station, ABC13 in Houston, confirmed she could legally obtain at least one gun in December 2023.
While her criminal charges came and went, on the civil side, records would show that Moreno has a long history of dealing with mental illness. Moreno's husband painted a troubling picture in divorce records obtained by ABC13 in Harris and Montgomery counties.
According to Houston Mayor John Whitmire, detectives are investigating the role Moreno's mental health played in the shooting.
Enrique Carranza wrote that he and Moreno met in 2015 when both worked at the Spaghetti Warehouse in downtown Houston. He noted that she became "abusive" soon after they married.
Carranza, in court records, referred to his wife as Jeffrey.
"Jeffrey is a diagnosed schizophrenic, so daily it was a new battle or fight in her realm," documents read.
Carranza states that Moreno also had lupus but stopped taking her medication and became pregnant. He asserts that she continued to use other drugs, however, and their son was born prematurely with drugs in his system.
"I currently fear that my wife will harm my son because she knows that all I wanted my whole life was to be a father, and I will not allow hate to be taught to my son," Carranza wrote.
Divorce documents show Moreno also accused Carranza of abuse.
ABC13 also found that Carranza's mother, a rabbi, filed several affidavits as an intervener in the couple's divorce. The documents focused on Moreno's extensive mental health history and the involvement of state child welfare officials. One affidavit stated that Connie Eicher, a friend of Carranza's mother, was prepared to testify on Moreno's alleged conduct. Eicher told ABC13 that Carranza, Moreno, and their 7-year-old son briefly stayed with her in 2019, a few months before their divorce.
Law enforcement told ABC13 one of Moreno's weapons had "Palestine" written on it and that they found "antisemitic writings." Eicher told ABC13 she believes Carranza's Jewish heritage contributed to the alleged antisemitism.
In a Facebook post on Monday, Moreno's former mother-in-law wrote, "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 lets people with severe mental illness have an excuse for violence."
Carranza, a registered sex offender, first won custody of the couple's son in Harris County. However, he lost custody when the divorce was finalized in Montgomery County in 2022. He is currently incarcerated in Florida for failure to register as a sex offender.
Moreno is accused of bringing the couple's 7-year-old son to Sunday's attack. Houston police told ABC13 he is in critical condition. His grandmother said he was shot in the head.
On Facebook, she wrote, "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 which refused to remove custody from a woman with known mental illness who was not being treated and with the State of Texas for not having strong red flag laws that would have prevented (Moreno) from owning or possessing a gun."
Another aspect of Moreno's life that investigators are looking through includes her extensive social media postings. Moreno presented herself as a real estate investor, though ABC13 could not locate her records as a realtor or real estate license holder.
In Instagram postings, Moreno at one point included a photo of a weapon and asked if anyone knew how to "clean an AR-15" in the caption.
"The system failed (Moreno), and the system failed the little boy too," Eicher said. "The bottom line is anybody who has psychiatric problems who threatens other people shouldn't be allowed to carry (guns)."
Editor's Note: This story has been updated to reflect that the sticker on the shooter's gun said "Palestine," per police, not "Free Palestine."