A shooting at a church in Houston, Texas, led by well-known pastor Joel Osteen left a 5-year-old boy seriously injured, authorities said Sunday. The attacker was killed and another man was also wounded, they added.
Police said at a news conference that a woman entered the Lakewood Church and began shooting. She had the injured child with her. Houston Police Chief Troy Finner reported that the woman, aged 30-35, entered the church with a rifle and a 4-5 year old child. She started shooting, and two off-duty officers shot her. The woman died at the scene, and the boy was critically injured. A 57-year-old man was also wounded and is receiving treatment in the hospital.
The governor of Texas, Greg Abbott, expressed his condolences to those affected by the shooting and the entire Houston Lakewood Church community. Lakewood Church, a church in Houston visited by thousands of people a week, is the third-largest megachurch in the United States.
Pastor Osteen said the shooting could have been much worse if it had occurred during the usually busiest 11 a.m. service. “We are devastated,” he said, adding that he would pray for the victims and their families.
Witnesses who spoke to local channel KTRK said they heard shouts of “there’s an attacker, there’s an attacker” as they ran toward a library inside the building. Footage showed people in front of the building as police evacuated the scene. Witnesses also said that they heard gunshots around 2:00 in the afternoon (local time), when the service in Spanish was about to begin. The building was evacuated by the authorities and the area remained cordoned off. The police indicated that an investigation into the events is already underway.
The incident has sparked outrage and concern in the community. It is a tragic event that has affected many lives. The church is a place of worship and should be a safe space for all who attend. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the victims and their families during this difficult time.
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