A child was shot at a Houston church led by Joel Osteen

A child was critically injured Sunday afternoon after a woman in her 30s opened fire at a Houston Christian megachurch led by Joel Osteen, a televangelist and pastor, authorities said.

Just before 2 p.m., a woman, holding a long rifle and wearing a coat and backpack, entered the Lakewood Church, among the largest congregations in the United States of America. She came with a child about 4 or 5 years old, Chief Troy Finner of the Houston Police Department said at a news conference Sunday.

Two off-duty police officers responded, and the woman was shot and killed, Chief Finner said. A child also shot, though it’s not clear who, remains in critical condition at a Houston-area hospital, along with a man in his 50s who was shot in the leg, he said.

The woman also made a bomb threat and appeared to spray an unidentified substance on the ground, Chief Finner said, noting that authorities did not find any explosives.

“She had a long gun and it could have been a lot worse,” he said, noting that authorities do not believe there is any further danger to the public. The motive for the shooting remains unclear.

The shooting happened as the Spanish-language service, which thousands of people attend every Sunday, was about to begin at the church.

Videos posted on church social networks Earlier on Sunday, he appeared to show worshipers standing and cheering as the band played on stage. Another shows Mr. Osteen, whose weekly television services reach millions of viewers, addressing the faithful.

“I’m in a fog, but we’re going to stay strong,” Osteen said at a press conference. “There are forces of evil, but the forces of God are stronger than that.”

Del Davis, 71, and his wife, Denise, were inside the church building and exiting when Mr. Davis said he heard gunshots. An avid gun collector and retired paramedic, he said he could immediately tell it was gunshots.

“I know gunshots when I hear them,” he said. “And I could smell gun smoke.” He said he and his wife, who are volunteers at the church, fled as the crowd dispersed. “It’s always full,” he said of the church’s services.

Another eyewitness told the television station KHOU that she was in the church when she heard several shots and saw a person who appeared to be in his 20s or 30s holding a firearm. She said she ran into a smaller room where she took shelter with about 10 other people, including a child.

“We were grateful,” the woman told KHOU. “It could have been worse.”

One TikTok livestream showed a crowd of evacuated families and worshipers milling around a grassy yard near the church. Collective chatter, mostly in Spanish, filled the air, punctuated by the occasional cry of restless toddlers. At one point, a group of women could be heard singing religious hymns.

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