Authorities in Texas initiated a search on Monday at a residence in the Houston vicinity, seeking evidence to uncover the reasons behind a woman’s armed assault inside Joel Osteen’s Lakewood Church on Sunday afternoon, an incident that concluded with the assailant being fatally shot by off-duty police officers at the site.
The investigation is centered around a house in Conroe, believed to be the residence of the female suspect, with investigative efforts being carried out by the FBI, Texas Rangers, Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office, and police departments from Conroe and Houston, as reported by KPRC. The identity of the suspect has yet to be disclosed. This development follows accounts from witnesses detailing the turmoil that unfolded at the Houston megachurch just before the commencement of its 2 p.m. Spanish service.
Christina Rodriguez, who was present in the church, recounted to KTRK her immediate reaction to the shooter’s presence, leading her and others to seek refuge by the church’s library and a stairwell until it was deemed safe to exit. Alan Guity, a devoted church member, described his experience of hearing the gunfire while in the sanctuary and seeking safety with his mother, engaging in prayer and later, outside the church, attempting to soothe others through worship and song in Spanish.
Houston Police Chief Troy Finner revealed that the female shooter entered the church armed with a long rifle, donning a trench coat and backpack, and was accompanied by a young child, estimated to be between 4 to 5 years old.
The confrontation with off-duty officers at the scene led to the shooter’s death. Two individuals were reported injured: a 57-year-old man and the child who came with the shooter, the latter being in critical condition at a pediatric hospital.
In response to the incident, Joel Osteen expressed his devastation but reaffirmed his faith in God’s control over the situation. Texas Governor Greg Abbott described the event as “tragic” and emphasized the sanctity of places of worship, extending his sympathies to those affected and the broader Lakewood Church community. The motive behind the shooting is still under investigation.
This information is a synthesis of the events surrounding the shooting at Lakewood Church, incorporating contributions from Fox News’ Andrea Vacchiano and The Associated Press.