A woman, believed to be between 30 and 35 years old, launched an attack at Lakewood Church in Texas, the place of worship led by renowned pastor and televangelist Joel Osteen. Dressed in a trench coat and armed with a long rifle, the woman arrived at the church with a child, estimated to be 4 or 5 years old, around 1:53 p.m. She began shooting shortly after entering the building, according to Houston Police Chief Troy Finner.
The incident occurred during a lull between services. The woman reportedly made a bomb threat and sprayed an unidentified substance on the ground, as per Chief Finner’s statement to the press. An off-duty agent from the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission and an off-duty Houston police officer were present at the scene and confronted the woman, ultimately shooting and killing her.
Tragically, the child accompanying the woman was caught in the crossfire and is currently in critical condition at a local hospital. A 57-year-old man, who was not involved in the incident, was also injured, sustaining a gunshot wound to the leg. He is currently receiving medical treatment.
In response to the woman’s bomb threat, law enforcement officials conducted a thorough search of her backpack and vehicle. However, no explosives were found. Chief Finner expressed relief that the situation was not worse, given the potential for further harm.
Eyewitnesses at the scene reported hearing at least 14 gunshots. Paula Laverde, a witness, described the terrifying sequence of events. “There was one shot first and then a set of shots. We started running as multiple sets of shots followed. I can’t really count them. It was at least five times that they shot multiple times,” she said.
In the aftermath of the incident, authorities established a reunification spot for those separated from their loved ones. The location was set up at the LIFE TIME fitness center at 1 Healthy Way in the Greenway Plaza area.