california local news

Suspect ‘is down’ after shooting at Joel Osteen’s church in Texas

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By Yosi Yahoudai
Founder and Managing Partner

HOUSTON (AP) — A Texas sheriff said Sunday that a shooter was down after a shooting at the Houston megachurch of celebrity pastor Joel Osteen on Sunday afternoon.

During a press conference, Houston Police Chief Troy Finner identified the suspect as a woman between the age of 30 and 35. Finner said she was armed with a rifle, and a child was with her.

Lakewood Church had earlier posted on social media there was an “active situation involving shots fired” at one of the largest megachurches in the U.S during its typically busy Sunday services.

A heavy presence of police surrounded the Houston megachurch. Worshippers could be seen leaving the building as authorities evacuated the church, and authorities said they were continuing to methodically search the building as a precaution. About 45,000 people attend weekly services at Lakewood, making it the third largest megachurch in the U.S., according to the Hartford Institute for Religion Research. Osteen’s televised sermons reach about 100 countries.

Flags fly in front of the Lakewood Church in Houston. (AP Photo/Pat Sullivan, File)

Earlier, Lakewood Church posted on X, formerly known as Twitter, shortly afterrward that there was an “active situation involving shots fired” at the church.

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.”

Witnesses told reporters that they heard multiple gunshots about the time the church’s 2 p.m. Spanish language service was set to begin.

Christina Rodriguez, who was inside the church, told Houston television station KTRK that she “started screaming, ‘There’s a shooter, there’s a shooter,’” and then she and others ran to the backside of a library inside the building, then stood in a stairway before they were told it was safe to leave.

People stood outside the building as authorities evacuated the church. Officials later announced a reunification center had been set up at a nearby gym for people to find their loved ones.

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About the Author
Yosi Yahoudai is a founder and the managing partner of J&Y. His practice is comprised primarily of cases involving automobile and motorcycle accidents, but he also represents people in premises liability lawsuits, including suits alleging dangerous conditions of public property, third-party criminal conduct, and intentional torts. He also has expertise in cases involving product defects, dog bites, elder abuse, and sexual assault. He earned his Bachelor of Arts from the University of California and is admitted to practice in all California State Courts, and the United States District Court for the Southern District of California. If you have any questions about this article, you can contact Yosi by clicking here.