A woman entered a major church in Houston with a child and began shooting. Here’s what we know
A woman entered a popular megachurch in Texas on Sunday afternoon with a long gun and a young child He started shooting Before she was killed by law enforcement officers at the scene. The source added that the shooting left the child in critical condition and another man injured.
Authorities are now investigating the shooting of the missionary and the priest Joel OsteenLakewood Church – About 6 miles from downtown Houston.
The woman, estimated to be between 30 and 35 years old, entered the church shortly before 2 p.m. wearing a coat and backpack and opened fire, Houston Police Chief Troy Fenner said at a news conference Sunday afternoon.
The shooter died at the scene after two law enforcement officers intervened and she was shot, Fenner said.
The police chief said that the young child was injured during the shooting and is in hospital in critical condition. It was not clear who fired the bullet that struck the child. CNN contacted the police to obtain more information.
Police did not share details about a possible motive for the shooting or clarify the woman’s relationship with the child who accompanied her. The injured man was shot in the leg and is receiving treatment at the hospital, Fenner said.
Osteen said at the news conference on Sunday that the shooting occurred while the church was “between services” and preparing to go to the Spanish service.
“I can only imagine if that had happened during the eleventh hour mass,” he said.
The shooting is the latest example of gun violence disrupting American life in places once considered safe. This was in a place of worship. Others were in Schools, Grocery stores, shopping centers, Hospitals, Universities And House parties.
Here’s what we know.
Two off-duty law enforcement officers confronted the shooter
The woman entered the church accompanied by a child whose age Fener estimated to be between “4 and 5 years old.”
“Once she got inside, at some point she started shooting,” the chief said.
Two off-duty officers were present: a 28-year-old Houston Police Department officer and a 38-year-old agent with the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission, both with less than five years of service. The police chief said the two officers clashed with the shooter and she was injured.
The shooter used an AR-15-style rifle labeled “Free Palestine,” according to a federal law enforcement source. The source said that investigators are trying to find out whether she has political motives or is a disturbed person.
“I want to commend these officers. She had a long gun and it could have been a lot worse,” Fenner said. “But they stepped up and did their jobs, and I want to thank them for that.”
Both officers who responded to the shooter will be placed on administrative duty pending the investigation, as is the case with officer-involved shootings, Fenner said.
“It’s traumatic not only for our community, but it’s certainly traumatic for the officers who had to take their own lives, and we’re concerned about their mental health as well, so our prayers are with them,” Houston Fire Chief Samuel Peña said at the news conference on Sunday.
The woman also threatened to have a bomb
The shooter also threatened her that she had a bomb, but authorities searched her car and backpack and found no explosives, the Houston police chief said.
Fenner said she was also spraying “some type of substance on the ground,” but did not reveal further details. Peña said fire authorities were at the scene and would take “our time to make sure any problem or any danger we see is properly investigated.”
“At this time, I can safely say that we have not found anything of concern to our community or this location, but we will take our time to make sure we look at every aspect,” the fire chief added.
CNN has reached out to the Houston Fire Department for more information.
The police chief said Sunday that authorities were conducting a systematic search of the church building — located in a sports arena — and did not believe there was any further danger to the public. He added that the shooting appeared to be an isolated incident.
Texas Governor Greg Abbott He said it was They have been in contact with local and state officials and have offered “full support and resources” from the state to help the community.
“Join Cecilia and me in praying for his community during this difficult time and for the brave men and women in blue who acted quickly to respond to this tragedy,” Abbott added.
The witness describes the “erratic” sound of shots and screams
With a background in television production, Austin took over his father’s church in 1999 and built a huge fan base. His services attract 45,000 church attendees weekly, as well as people across the country who follow his sermons online and on television, according to him. website.
“We are devastated,” Austin said. “We’ve been here for 65 years, and we have someone shooting up your church…”
A woman who was inside the church at the time of the shooting said CNN affiliate KHOU Austin was greeting people after the service and was among the last people she met.
Soon after, she told the news station, she heard repeated noises, almost like “mechanical noises.”
“It sounded like the folding tables were being dismantled and dropped onto the floor,” she said. “But they were irregular.”
The woman said she then heard another set of gunshots and saw people screaming and running away. She ran into a room and was crammed inside with several other people, including a child. The group placed two large wooden boards on the door to prevent it from opening, and then began to pray.
“We were thankful,” she said. “We could have been a victim. We could have been shot.”
CNN’s Raja Razek and John Miller contributed to this report.
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(Tags for translation)Lakewood Church