(Image source from: Bnnbreaking.com)
Yesterday afternoon, a woman armed with a long rifle entered Lakewood Church in Houston, where Pastor Joel Osteen leads a large congregation. Tragically, she opened fire, but was swiftly and fatally shot by off-duty officers. Thankfully, no other individuals within the church lost their lives. The woman, believed to be between the ages of 30 and 35, arrived at the church around 1:53 p.m., dressed in a trench coat and carrying a backpack. Accompanying her was a young child, estimated to be around 4 or 5 years old, according to Houston Police Chief Troy Finner, who provided details during a press conference following the incident.
As soon as she entered the church, the woman began shooting. However, two off-duty officers responded swiftly and neutralized the threat, resulting in the shooter's demise. Regrettably, the child also suffered gunshot wounds and is currently in critical condition at Texas Children's Hospital. Authorities are still uncertain about the circumstances that led to the child's injuries. Additionally, an unrelated 57-year-old man was shot in the leg and is currently receiving medical treatment. During the incident, the shooter made claims of possessing a bomb. In response, officers thoroughly searched her vehicle and backpack, but no explosives were found. The search for any potential threats continued within the church premises, which has a seating capacity of over 16,000 people.
Officers called upon the Houston Fire Department and hazmat units after someone sprayed an unknown substance. Fire Chief Samuel Peña stated that they did not find anything concerning. The shooter's motive and identity were not revealed by law enforcement. She entered the church a few minutes before the 2 p.m. Spanish-language service began. During the press conference, Houston Mayor John Whitmire expressed his disappointment that instead of attending church and watching America's top sporting event, they had to respond to this tragedy. He assured Houstonians that their first responders were keeping them safe.
Whitmire expressed his gratitude to the first responders for their cooperation. The Harris County Sheriff's Department, Houston Fire Department, and Houston Police Department were all present at the scene. The shooter was confronted by two off-duty agents from the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission and the Houston Police Department. Located about 6 miles outside of downtown Houston, Lakewood Church is housed in the former arena of the Houston Rockets. This non-denominational, evangelical Christian church attracts a wide range of people from all over the country, both in person and through online platforms.