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12 Feb, 2024 01:19

Female suspect behind Lakewood Church shooting killed – police

The assailant was shot dead by two off-duty officers, Houston’s top law enforcement official said
Female suspect behind Lakewood Church shooting killed – police

The attacker who opened fire inside a packed evangelical Christian church in Houston, Texas, on Sunday was a woman who entered the building with a young child, police said on Sunday. They confirmed that the shooter was killed at the scene by off-duty officers.

The female suspect entered Lakewood Church at around 1:53 pm local time, wearing a trench coat with a backpack and armed with a long rifle, Houston Police Chief Troy Finner. The woman appeared to be 30-35 years old and was accompanied by “a small child approximately four to five years old.”

At some point during the service, the woman opened fire. Two off-duty officers – a Houston police officer and an agent with the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission – shot the assailant, who died at the scene. The child she was with was injured in the firefight.

“Unfortunately a five-year-old kid was hit and is in critical condition at our local hospital,” Finner said, adding that the child’s relationship to the shooter is unclear. One of the churchgoers – a 57-year-old man – was shot in the leg and is now receiving treatment.

According to the police chief, the attacker claimed that she had a bomb, but no explosives were found. Finner did not release any additional information about the shooter or comment on her possible motives.

The church has an average attendance of 45,000 people, according to the media. It was founded in 1959 by pastor John Osteen and is currently run by his son Joel and his wife Victoria.