Joel Osteen Returns to His Church

Pastor praises law enforcement, his Houston megachurch's security team after Feb. 11 shooting
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 19, 2024 8:22 AM CST
Joel Osteen Lauds 'Heroes' of Megachurch Shooting
Pastor Joel Osteen talks with reporters after a service Sunday in Houston.   (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

Lakewood Church was back in business on Sunday, a week after a shooting at Joel Osteen's megachurch in Houston left the shooter dead, her young son critically injured, and another man hurt. The congregation offered up prayers for the injured, as well as for 36-year-old shooter Genesse Moreno, while Osteen himself offered praise for local law enforcement and his church's security crew for helping to minimize the harm done. "We are just proud of the police and our own security here," Osteen told KPRC after Sunday's service. "They were heroes, so we celebrate what they've done." Osteen added that although his team is always looking to bolster security measures, "we have a very strong plan in place."

The pastor noted that he'd been in the church lobby talking to congregants around the time of the shooting but hadn't fully known what was happening. "Some technicians came running out, their eyes were big like there had been some kind of incident," he says. "I thought, 'What in the world?' So I just went back to my office." He says Houston's police chief eventually texted him, "Are you OK?" A church spokesperson says that there are typically a few dozen police officers, both in uniform and in street clothes, that work each service, per the AP. As for Moreno's 7-year-old son, who remains hospitalized after being shot in the head (it's not yet clear who shot him), her former mother-in-law provided an update on Thursday, per CNN.

The boy "has lost a major part of what makes us who we are ... a portion of his frontal lobe," Walli Carranza wrote on Facebook, noting that he underwent two surgeries in less than one day's time. "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." Carranza also expressed "compassion" for Moreno, noting her deceased daughter-in-law had schizophrenia and antisocial personality disorder, and slammed local CPS services and lawmakers who've blocked stronger gun laws. "Repeal the 2nd Amendment!" Carranza wrote. A 47-year-old man was also shot, in the leg, and has since been treated and released from the hospital, per Houston Public Media. (More Joel Osteen stories.)

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