HOUSTON — A woman entered a Houston megachurch and opened fire with a rifle on Sunday, authorities said. She was killed by two off-duty police officers, and a child who accompanied her was in critical condition.
Shooter killed, child critically injured
Update 5:45 p.m. EST Feb. 11: During a news conference on Sunday evening, Houston police Chief Troy Finner said that a woman entered the Lakewood Church in southwest Houston at about 1:53 p.m. CST.
The woman, who carried a long rifle into the church, was accompanied by a 5-year-old child, the chief said. The shooter opened fire, and two off-duty officers returned fire, killing the shooter.
The child was struck by gunfire and was taken to an area hospital and was in critical condition. Finner said a 56-year-old man was shot in the hip and was taken to a hospital, where he was in stable condition.
It was unclear what the relationship was between the shooter and the child, KHOU-TV reported.
“This is a tragic day,” Finner told reporters. “But know that we all stand together.”
Joel Osteen, the celebrity pastor at the Houston megachurch, said he was “devastated” by the shooting.
About 45,000 people attend weekly services at Lakewood Church, according to The Associated Press. Osteen’s televised sermons reach about 100 countries.
“Our hearts are with those impacted by today’s tragic shooting and the entire Lakewood Church community in Houston. Places of worship are sacred,” Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said in a statement. “I have been in contact with Mayor Whitmire and offered the full support and resources of the State of Texas, including Department of Public Safety officers and Texas Rangers, to help this community and help bring swift justice to the criminal who committed this heinous act. Join Cecilia and me in praying for this community during this difficult time and for the brave men and women in blue who acted quickly to respond to this tragedy.”
Original report: According to the Harris County Sheriff’s Office, deputies responded to a possible shooting at the megachurch, headed by celebrity pastor Joel Osteen, near the Southwest Freeway shortly after 2 p.m. CST, KTRK-TV reported.
Sheriff Ed Gonzalez said the shooter was down, according to the Houston Chronicle.
The 2 p.m. Spanish-speaking service had just begun when the alleged shooting occurred, according to KTRK.
The Houston Fire Department confirmed to KPRC-TV that deputies responded to the church after at least one person was shot.
Sheriff Ed Gonzalez said in an updated post that it is believed that a possible shooter is down after being shot by, according to the television station.
It was unclear whether the shooting occurred inside or outside of the church, KRIV-TV reported.
“So there was one shot first and then there was a set of shots and then we started running and then there were multiple sets of shots,” Paula Laverde told KPRC. “I can’t really count them, it was at least five times that they shot multiple times.”
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