A woman was shot and killed by an off-duty police officer Sunday afternoon after she opened fire with a long gun inside the megachurch of prominent Texas pastor Joel Osteen, authorities said.
The armed woman, aged 30 to 35, entered the Lakewood Church in Houston just before 2 p.m. local time, along with a 5-year-old boy who was seriously injured in a shootout with police. Houston Police Chief Troy Fenner said a 57-year-old man was also shot, but he was not believed to be involved in the incident and was in stable condition.
The suspect was shot and killed by two off-duty police officers working as security at the church. She was pronounced dead at the scene, Fenner said.
Fenner said the injured child was being treated at a hospital in critical condition.
When asked if police shot the child, the police chief told reporters he didn’t know. He added, “Unfortunately, if it was that woman, that suspect, who put that baby in danger, I would put the blame on her.”
Fenner said the suspect claimed to have a bomb, but police found no explosives.
“She had a long gun and it could have been a lot worse,” Fenner said at a news conference Sunday.
The shooting happened shortly before the church’s 2 p.m. Spanish-language service was to begin. Osteen Lakewood Church is one of the largest megachurches in the United States.
“I can only imagine what would have happened if this had happened during the 11:00 o’clock service,” Osteen said. “She could have caused much more serious harm.”