Grandmother Of 7-Year-Old Shot In Lakewood Church Tragedy Releases Statement

By Lisa Pelgin | Wednesday, 14 February 2024 12:00 PM
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In a tragic incident that unfolded at Joel Osteen's Lakewood Church on Sunday, a seven-year-old boy was critically injured when his mother, Gennese Moreno, opened fire.

The boy, who was shot in the head, is not expected to survive, according to his paternal grandmother, Walli Carranza. "My grandson [Samuel] has suffered a gunshot wound to the brain," Carranza revealed on social media.

The boy's father, Quito Carranza, is currently incarcerated in Florida for failing to register as a sex offender. Court documents from a custody dispute reveal that the child had special needs and that Moreno had a detached relationship with him, referring to him merely as "the boy."

Carranza's family is now seeking prayers for the critically injured boy. "My son-Quito and I and the entire Carranza family ask for your prayers," Walli Carranza stated. She also revealed that her son lost custody of the child during his divorce from Moreno in 2022, citing Moreno's mental health issues. Carranza's mother had previously submitted an affidavit expressing concerns about "complaints of child abuse and neglect, as well as reckless endangerment."

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In the custody dispute, Moreno countered that Quito Carranza was a registered sex offender with multiple DWI charges, had physically assaulted her, and was incapable of caring for a child with special needs.

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In her social media statement, Walli Carranza also addressed the broader issues surrounding the incident. "This is what happens when reckless and irresponsible reporting lets people with severe mental illness have an excuse for violence," she said, referring to Moreno's pro-Palestinian rant against Israel and Jews.

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Carranza further emphasized that the blame should not fall on any police officer who was carrying out their duty to save lives, even if they were found responsible for shooting her grandson. Instead, she pointed to the child protective services of Montgomery County and Harris County for refusing to remove custody from Moreno, despite her known untreated mental illness. She also criticized the state of Texas for its lack of strong red flag laws that could have prevented Moreno from owning or possessing a gun.

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In the final part of her statement, Carranza called for privacy and urged this incident to serve as a wake-up call about the reality of mental illness. She remembered Moreno as a "sweet and loving woman" when medicated for schizophrenia, and stressed the importance of securing safety for those in need of mental health care.

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"If today you suspect that someone needs mental health care never cease your efforts to secure their safety and that of others," she implored. She ended her statement with a prayer for her grandson's healing and a hope that Moreno's death could inspire change to prevent similar tragedies.

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