Houston, Texas – An armed female suspect was fatally shot by off-duty police officers after opening fire inside Joel Osteen’s Lakewood Church on Sunday afternoon.
The suspect, believed to be between 30 and 35 years old, entered the church with a 5-year-old boy, who was critically wounded during the shootout. A 57-year-old man who was not involved in the incident was also shot but is in stable condition, according to Houston Police Chief Troy Finner.
Two off-duty officers working security at the church engaged the suspect, resulting in her being pronounced dead at the scene. The injured child remains in critical condition in a local hospital.
Police confirmed that the suspect claimed to have a bomb, but no explosives were found. “She had a long gun and it could’ve been a lot worse,” Finner said during a press conference.
The shooting took place just before the church’s 2 p.m. Spanish language service was set to begin. Osteen’s Lakewood Church is one of the largest megachurches in the United States.
During a press conference, Osteen expressed gratitude that the incident did not happen during the 11:00 service, acknowledging that the situation could have been much worse.
The police chief emphasized that if the suspect had put the child in danger, the blame would rest on her. The motive behind the suspect’s actions is still under investigation.
The shooting at the well-known church has raised concerns about security protocols and the safety of attendees. It has also sparked discussions about the prevalence of gun violence in public spaces. Authorities are working to gather more information and provide support to those affected by the tragic event.