Joel Osteen’s Lakewood Church welcomed its congregation to the first services held since a woman opened fire inside the Houston megachurch.
On Sunday morning, Osteen said the two services, just a week after the tragic shooting, marked a “time of healing and restoration” for his church community.
“This Sunday we will have special services: a time of healing and restoration, a time of praise and thanksgiving, just thanking God for his angels for taking care of us,” Osteen said in a video posted on X before the services.
On February 11, Genesse Moreno, 36, went to the megachurch, dressed in a trench coat, armed with two rifles and opened fire shortly before 2 p.m.
Her seven-year-old son Samuel, whom she took with her to church at the time of the shooting, was seriously injured and she was shot and killed. A man was also injured in the shooting.
Joel Osteen posted a video on social media Sunday morning ahead of Lakewood Church services held a week after the tragic mass shooting. He called ‘special services’ a ‘time of healing and restoration’
The church’s large crowd is seen during Sunday services – the first time it has returned to the building since the terrifying shooting that took place a week ago.
Video of the Feb. 11 church shooting showed frightened adults and children as police evacuated them from the building.
“Hello Lakewood family, we want to tell you how much we love you and how much we have been praying for you,” Osteen said.
“Yes, it has been a difficult week, something we never dreamed we would have to deal with, but now we look back and see God’s faithfulness – how he protected and cared for us.”
‘So we hope that you and your family come forward, and you know, forces that would like us to step back and live in fear, afraid of what might happen at school, the supermarket, work or even at church. .’
“But we are not people of fear, we are people of faith,” added the pastor.
The boy injured in the shooting is still fighting for his life in a hospital after being shot in the brain. It is unclear who exactly shot her, as two off-duty police officers shot and killed her.
He remains in hospital with a grim prognosis as his paternal grandmother, Walli Carranza, who lives in Mexico, flew to be at his bedside.
Through a family spokesperson, Carranza, who is a rabbi, told DailyMail.com how she and her son have spent the last four years trying to gain custody of Sam.
“He wanted custody because he didn’t think she was capable of raising him,” described her longtime friend Connie Eicher.
‘First of all, she was mentally ill. They never knew when she would be good and when she wouldn’t.
The shooter has been identified as Genesse Ivonne Moreno, 36, who previously used the name Jeffrey and has a long criminal history dating back to 2005. She is seen in 2022.
Moreno had been diagnosed with schizophrenia and Munchausen by proxy.
Eicher said Moreno used Sam as a “bargaining chip” and disappeared whenever her ex-husband, Enrique Alberto Carranza, tried to see him.
Officers intervened immediately after Moreno fired the weapons inside the megachurch that is regularly attended by 45,000 people each week, with services broadcast live to about 100 countries.
On the day of the shooting, Osteen wrote on X that his “community is devastated by today’s events and grateful for the swift actions of authorities.”
“In the face of such darkness, we must hold on to our faith and remember that evil will not prevail,” he added.
‘God will guide us through the darkest times. “Together we will overcome this tragedy and remain steadfast in our commitment to love and support each other.”
Heartbreaking video showed the moment worshipers at Joel Osteen’s Lakewood church ran for cover as gunshots rang out in the Texas congregation.
Moreno was previously arrested on charges of assault, weapons, marijuana possession and forgery.
It is unclear how he was able to legally purchase the AR-15 used in the murder, or why he was allowed to retain custody of the child.
Texas Child Protective Services has not yet responded to DailyMail.com’s questions about the case.
On Facebook, Carranza said he blames the state of Texas for his injury.
Houston police and FBI agents were seen in Conroe on Sunday night, reportedly raiding a home linked to the suspect.
Moreno was previously arrested on charges of assault, weapons, marijuana possession and forgery. She was seen in two mugshots, one from 2005 and one from 2009.
The boy’s grandmother revealed in a statement that “despite more than 20 reports” of medical abuse, neglect, medical malpractice and reckless endangerment by the mother, Moreno was still able to purchase deadly weapons.
Carranza said: ‘Samuel had no protection of the right to life that God had given him,’ the grandmother posted.
‘Because the same legislators who claim to be “pro-life” believe that the unbridled right to bear arms matters and the right to life does not!’
In addition to his extensive criminal record, Moreno frequently used aliases, including a male character: Jeffery Escalante. It’s a name he often gave to police officers, arrest records show.
‘My faith tradition demands compassion from me and I have it for my deceased daughter-in-law,’ Carranza said.
‘He had schizophrenia and now we know, antisocial personality disorder. She had a broken brain.
Carranza previously told DailyMail.com that Sam was a special needs child since he was born at 23 weeks, weighed less than a pound and spent the first seven months of his life in a neonatal intensive care unit.
“He had very little chance of surviving and he survived,” the grandmother said.
But Carranza explained that Sam did not receive care for the after-effects of premature birth that left him with asthma and speech impediments.
Samuel Moreno Carranza, 7, is seen at the hospital where he remains in critical condition in the ICU of a children’s hospital in Houston, Texas, after he was shot in the brain while his mother opened fire inside Lakewood Church.
Carlos González, a worship singer, hugs a fellow church member after the shooting.
FBI agents converged on the Conroe neighborhood Sunday night as they raided a home linked to the suspect.
“Because the father was given primary custody rights temporarily, the mother disappeared and hid him, hid him, hid him,” the grandmother said.
During the time of the shooting, a witness said he heard about 30 gunshots as he ran out of the church with his daughters.
Christina Rodriguez, who was inside the church, told Houston television station KTRK that she “started yelling, ‘There’s a shooter, there’s a shooter,'” and then she and others ran to the back of a library. inside the building, then stood on a staircase before being told it was safe to leave.
Authorities later announced that a reunification center had been created for people to find their loved ones, at a nearby gym.
Witness Paula Laverde said: “So there was a shot first and then there was a series of shots and then we started running and then there were several series of shots, I can’t really count them, it was at least five times that he shot multiple times.
Moreno was born in the Middle East and “ranted” against Jews.
“Although my former daughter-in-law raged against Israel and Jews yesterday in a pro-Palestinian speech, this has nothing to do with Judaism or Islam,” her mother-in-law said.
It was later discovered that Moreno’s mother, who was his only support, left town shortly before the shooting.
A friend of the grandmother’s family, Connie Eicher, said she believes Moreno may have been feeling desperate, prompting her to go to the church where her mother was a member.
“She could have shot the entire congregation if they hadn’t stopped her,” Eicher added.
Investigators also found anti-Semitic writing on Moreno’s car after the shooting. One of the weapons he had had a sticker that said “Palestine.”
“I wasn’t surprised to hear that there had been anti-Semitic rants because they were trying to take the baby away from her,” Eicher said.
‘I think she was using him as a shield. I think she thought that as long as she had him she would be protected.