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Off-duty officers kill female shooter at Joel Osteen’s Lakewood Church in Houston; 2 victims injured

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(HOUSTON) — A woman opened fire with a long gun inside celebrity pastor Joel Osteen’s megachurch in Texas on Sunday afternoon before being shot and killed by off-duty police officers, authorities said.

The armed woman, who was between the ages of 30 and 35 years old, entered the Lakewood Church in Houston just before 2 p.m. local time alongside a 5-year-old boy, who was critically wounded in the shootout with police. A 57-year-old man, who is not believed to be involved in the incident, was also shot but is in stable condition, according to Houston Police Chief Troy Finner.

The suspect was gunned down by two off-duty officers who were working security at the church. She was pronounced dead at the scene, Finner said.

The injured child is hospitalized in critical condition, according to Finner.

When asked if the responding officers shot the child, the police chief told reporters he didn’t know. He added, “If it was, unfortunately, and that female, that suspect, put that baby in danger, I’m gonna put that blame on her.”

The suspect claimed to have a bomb, but no explosives were found by police, according to Finner.

“She had a long gun and it could’ve been a lot worse,” Finner said during a press conference on Sunday.

The shooting unfolded shortly 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.

“I can only imagine what would have happened if this happened during the 11:00 service,” Osteen said. “She could have done much worse damage.”

 

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