On Sunday, chaos unfolded at the Lakewood megachurch in Houston, Texas, as a woman opened fire, injuring two people, including a child. The Lakewood Church, one of the largest in the United States with a capacity of 16,800, witnessed the shooting incident, as confirmed by Troy Finner, the chief of the Houston Police.
According to Finner, a woman aged between 30 and 35, accompanied by a child estimated to be 4 or 5 years old (whose relationship was not disclosed), approached the church’s entrance around 2 p.m. carrying “long weaponry.” The woman began firing, prompting two off-duty police officers providing security at the temple to respond. In the exchange of gunfire, the child suffered critical injuries, and a 57-year-old man, unrelated to the incident, was hit in the leg.
The assailant, carrying a backpack, made reference to a possible bomb before being neutralized by the officers. However, subsequent inspections did not reveal any explosive devices.
Eyewitnesses described scenes of panic and confusion as people sought refuge. One woman recounted efforts to secure doors and protect those inside until authorities arrived. Lakewood Church, founded by televangelist John Osteen in 1959 and currently led by his son, preacher and author Joel Osteen, broadcasts its services to millions.
The shooting occurred just before the start of a Spanish-language service. Joel Osteen, expressing gratitude that the incident didn’t happen during the 11 a.m. service, held a press conference, stating, “We don’t understand why these things happen, but we do know that God is in control.” He pledged prayers for both the victims and the aggressor.
Mass shootings are unfortunately common in the United States, where there are more guns than people, and approximately one-third of adults own a firearm. While surveys indicate widespread support for stricter gun regulations among Americans, powerful gun lobbies have hindered legislative action.