Houston, Texas – An armed female suspect was fatally shot by off-duty officers after opening fire inside Joel Osteen’s Lakewood Church on Sunday afternoon, according to authorities.
The woman, aged between 30 and 35, entered the church with a 5-year-old boy before engaging in a shootout with police. The child was critically wounded, and a 57-year-old man was also injured but is in stable condition, Houston Police Chief Troy Finner stated. The suspect was killed by two off-duty officers working security at the church.
Finner also mentioned that the injured child remains hospitalized in critical condition, but it is unclear if the responding officers shot the child. The police chief placed the blame on the suspect if the officers did indeed shoot the child, stating, “If it was, unfortunately, and that female, that suspect, put that baby in danger, I’m gonna put that blame on her.”
The suspect claimed to have a bomb, but police did not find any explosives. Finner emphasized that the situation could have been much worse, given that the suspect was armed with a long gun.
The incident occurred just before the church’s 2 p.m. Spanish language service was set to begin. Joel Osteen expressed gratitude that the situation did not take place during the busier 11 a.m. service, acknowledging the potential for even more devastating consequences.
Lakewood Church is among the largest megachurches in the United States. There is currently no further information regarding the motives or the identity of the female suspect. The investigation into the shooting is ongoing as the church and the community deal with the aftermath of the tragic event.