By now, you're aware that on Sunday afternoon, a deranged woman brought her young son and an AR-15 into Joel Osteen's Lakewood megachurch and opened fire. After the smoke cleared, the shooter, Genesse Ivonne Moreno, 36, had been killed by two off-duty officers. A 57-year-old man had taken a round in the leg; he was treated at a medical facility and released. And Moreno's seven-year-old son had been shot in the head. The boy remains in critical condition with a poor prognosis.
It's unclear whether Moreno herself shot her child, but then, there are a lot of confusing details still up in the air about this case. The woman had suffered from schizophrenia and had multiple past arrests, and yet, mainstream news sources are reporting that she was able to buy guns legally. For example, CNN stated, "The shooter used an AR-15 with a 'Palestine' sticker on it during the attack, which she legally purchased in December, police said. She also had a .22 caliber weapon in her bag that was not used, according to a federal law enforcement source."
In a Facebook post, Moreno's former mother-in-law, Walli Carranza, blamed lax Texas gun laws for the tragedy — a claim other news sites took the opportunity to quote.
"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," wrote Carranza. "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 US Constitution any protection for gun ownership. [sic]" With her shaky grasp on the First Amendment, I'm not sure I'd take Carranza's assessment of Texas gun laws without a grain of salt, either.
But in court filings during divorce proceedings between her son, Enrique Carranza III, and the shooter, Carranza revealed the courts had been involved with Moreno's mental health, reports ABC:
The mother-in-law's affidavit also suggests that Moreno should not have been able to own a gun, claiming that under an alias, Moreno had been under involuntary psychiatric commitment at least four times.
Moreno's former husband, Enrique Carranza III, also said in a separation-related affidavit that "She is a diagnosed schizophrenic and [Child Protective Services] has told her that she cannot have a gun."
Additionally, although it's not necessarily a disqualifier in Texas, Moreno had been arrested numerous times — including for illegal possession of a weapon, for which she served two days in the Fort Bend County Jail. Houston-based energy executive and political analyst Don Hooper compiled her mugshots in a tweet, along with the year of each arrest:
Unfortunately, I now know a lot more. A lengthy criminal history. A woman who thinks she is a man. pic.twitter.com/TupLUCoBEQ— Houston Conservative Forum (@houston_cf) February 12, 2024
Whether Moreno truly considered herself a man is another point of contention. The Houston PD looked into the matter and determined that she had always used female pronouns, but then, she also sometimes went by the name Jeffery or Jeffry.
Crim Hist. pic.twitter.com/O4EEjI4env— Houston Conservative Forum (@houston_cf) February 12, 2024
Still another roadblock to Moreno obtaining a legal firearm is the fact that she is not a U.S. citizen. She was born in El Salvador, and it's unclear what her current resident status is. But during the divorce proceedings (approximately 2020-2022), she was deportable:
The mother-in-law's affidavit … also claimed Moreno "filed a fraudulent birth certificate" for the child and "refused" to correct it and told hospital staff that the father [Carranza] was "dead" and, alternatively, that he was "homeless" and unknown.
Her son "has been reticent to file the criminal charges against his wife; now his former wife because, as she is not a US citizen," the mother-in-law's affidavit said, and "as she already has had criminal convictions, she would likely be deported if convicted of the 3rd degree felony that stems from filing a fraudulent birth certificate. He told [Houston Police] detectives this is not what he wants for the woman he loved and married and the mother of his child. He wants her to live, he told police, where she can get quality mental healthcare. He doesn’t hate her; he hates her mental illness and her refusal to treat it."
Indeed, Hooper found that Immigration had a detainer on her at one point:
Here illegally-Harris County court file. pic.twitter.com/udxrLji2TT— Houston Conservative Forum (@houston_cf) February 12, 2024
So if Moreno was a deportable alien as recently as 2022, then she was likely not eligible to buy a gun in Texas.
You know what else she wasn't eligible to do? Vote. But Hooper, who has political connections, pulled up the woman's alleged voting data in Texas. Guess what he found?
Moreno is apparently registered to vote in Montgomery County, Texas. When I entered her name and date of birth into the county Voter Registration Database, it hit:
Yes, we need to pray for this family caught in the teeth of this multi-faceted tragedy, especially for the innocent child whose entire life has been hellish.
And we also need to demand election integrity.