HOUSTON, TX – A woman opened fire inside the renowned Lakewood Church, led by Pastor Joel Osteen, in Houston on Sunday. The suspect was fatally shot by off-duty officers present at the scene, according to Houston Police Chief Troy Finner.
The incident left a child critically wounded, and a 57-year-old man also sustained a gunshot wound to the leg. The woman, believed to be between 30 and 35 years old, entered the west side of the church around 1:53 p.m. local time.
Armed with a long rifle, the woman was accompanied by a 5-year-old boy. The officers present at the scene engaged with the woman, resulting in her death. The child was also hit in the crossfire and is currently in a critical condition at a local hospital.
The police chief confirmed that the child was also shot and was rushed to the hospital in critical condition. When questioned about the possibility of the police shooting the child, Finner stated that if it was the case, the blame would rest on the suspect for endangering the child.
A 57-year-old man, who was not involved in the incident, was also shot in the leg and is in stable condition at a hospital. The woman suspect had claimed to possess a bomb, but no explosives were found by the officers.
The incident could have been much worse, Finner noted, given the woman was armed with a long gun. Pastor Joel Osteen, speaking at the press conference, noted that the incident occurred between services at the megachurch. He expressed his relief that the incident did not occur during the 11:00 service, which could have resulted in more damage.
The shooting happened during a Spanish language service, and it was revealed that some Harris County deputies also work part-time at the church.