Houston, Texas – A woman opened fire at Joel Osteen’s megachurch on Sunday, resulting in a tragic shooting incident. The woman, who was later shot and killed by off-duty officers inside the church, also reportedly claimed to have explosives, according to Houston Police Chief Troy Finner.
The unidentified woman, accompanied by a child, entered Osteen’s Lakewood Church between services shortly before 2 p.m. local time. The child, escorted by the woman, was unfortunately hit by a bullet, with no details on whether the child was shot by the woman or the officers. The child, said to be four or five years of age, is currently in critical condition at Texas Children’s Hospital. Additionally, a 57-year-old man was shot in the leg and is being treated for his injuries.
Police stated that the woman, estimated to be between the ages of 30 and 35, arrived at the church wearing a trench coat and a backpack and carrying a long rifle. However, authorities did not identify a motive for the shooting, nor the connection between the woman and the child she brought with her to church. It was revealed that the woman had been spraying something on the floor around her before the assault occurred.
Lakewood Church, a non-denominational church with a vast seating capacity, is a popular destination for worship, regularly attended by tens of thousands of people every week. The church also streams its services online, attracting a significant global audience. The scheduled broadcast following the incident was promptly canceled.
In response to the shooting, Houston Police have launched an investigation into the incident, and the off-duty officers involved have been placed on administrative leave. Joel Osteen, the church’s prominent leader, expressed gratitude for the swift actions of law enforcement and emphasized the community’s need to hold onto faith in the face of such darkness. These troubling events have undoubtedly shaken the local congregation and the broader community, raising questions about security and safety in places of worship.