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2 injured, including child, after shooting at pastor Joel Osteen’s Lakewood Church

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Posted at 6:51 PM, Feb 11, 2024
and last updated 2024-02-11 18:51:44-05

(CNN) — A woman in a trench coat armed with a long rifle – and accompanied by a young child – entered pastor Joel Osteen’s Lakewood Church on Sunday afternoon and began firing, Houston Police Chief Troy Finner said.

Two off-duty law enforcement officers – a Houston police officer and an agent with the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission – engaged and struck the woman, who died on the scene, Finner said. The woman was roughly 30-35 years old, the chief said.

“Unfortunately a 5-year-old kid was hit and is in critical condition at our local hospital,” he added. The incident unfolded just before 2 p.m., the chief said. It was unclear who fired the shot that struck the child, the chief said, or what the child’s relationship to the shooter was.

A 57-year-old man – who authorities don’t believe was connected to the incident – was shot in the leg and is seeking treatment at a hospital, Finner said.

“I want to commend those officers. She had a long gun and it could have been a lot worse,” Finner said. “But they stepped up and they did their job, and I want to thank them for that.” An investigation will take place into the shooting and both law enforcement officers will be placed on administrative leave while the probe is ongoing.

The woman had also threatened she “had a bomb,” but authorities searched her vehicle and a backpack she was wearing and found no explosives, Finner said. “She was also spraying some type of substance on the ground,” the chief added.

Lakewood Church – a megachurch about 6 miles from downtown Houston – confirmed reports of “shots fired,” earlier, sayingon X, “There is an active situation involving shots fired at Lakewood. Law enforcement is on the scene. That is all the information we have at this time. Please pray for Lakewood and our community.”

Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez also postedabout the incident, saying the possible shooter appeared to be down. He had earlier said a Harris County sheriff’s deputy had fired the shot, but later clarified that did not appear to be the case, saying “other agencies fired.”

In a statement Sunday afternoon, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said, “Our hearts are with those impacted by today’s tragic shooting and the entire Lakewood Church community in Houston. Places of worship are sacred.”

The governor added he has been in contact with local and state officials to “help this community and help bring swift justice to the criminal who committed this heinous act.”

A Lakewood parishioner at the scene told CNN affiliate KPRC he was inside the church waiting for the Spanish language service to start when he heard multiple shots fired. The man was then instructed by a church usher to run, he told KPRC. The service was slated to begin at 3:00 p.m. ET, according to the church website.

CNN has reached out to Houston police and the Harris County Sheriff’s Office for more information.

Lakewood Church, now located in what used to be a sports arena, was founded by Osteen’s father in the 1950s.