Two Wounded in Church Shooting

Houston Police outside Lakewood Church in Houston, Texas
Houston Police outside Lakewood Church in Houston, Texas | Image by KHOU

A man and a small child were left wounded as a result of the church shooting in Houston that occurred Sunday afternoon.

The shooting took place at Lakewood Church during the house of worship’s Spanish language service.

Troy Finner, chief of the Houston Police Department, said during a media briefing that the alleged shooter, an unidentified woman in her mid-30s, had arrived at the church with a 5-year-old boy, a backpack, and a long rifle and began firing inside the building at around 1:50 p.m. The woman sprayed an unknown substance at the scene and claimed she possessed a bomb.

Cherami Fisher, a local who recently moved to the area from Los Angeles, said that he was exiting a bathroom at the church when the shooting began.

“I had just gone into the bathroom, got out, and heard the bam-bam,” said Fisher, per NBC News.

Two off-duty law enforcement officers, one with the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission and another with the Houston Police Department, were present at the time of the shooting. They fired at the shooter, killing her. The 5-year-old child the shooter had with her and a man in his 50s were wounded in the crossfire.

The unnamed man is currently being treated for a wound in his leg. The child is currently in critical condition. Fire personnel checked the suspect’s backpack and vehicle, finding no explosives.

Finner said that even if police gunfire had wounded the child, the blame should be placed upon the shooter, according to NBC News.

Officials have not yet released the name of the suspected shooter.

John Whitmire, the mayor of Houston, said at the briefing that he wanted to assure locals that first responders were doing their jobs to protect them, commending the officers for their response.

“We want to give our condolences to Reverend Osteen and his congregation. It’s unfortunate on the day that we want to attend church, watch America’s number one sports event, and we find ourselves gathered here to respond to this tragedy,” said Whitmire. “We want Houstonians to know that they are being protected by their first responders.”

“Places of worship — that’s what they are, and that’s what they will remain in our city. So it’s just an opportunity for us to refocus and make sure that we all look out for one another,” said Finner. “There will be increased patrols and a lot of conversation in our command post with our federal partners and our local partners.”

“We’re going to increase those patrols in and around those religious institutions, and it doesn’t matter which faith. We love everybody here in our city, and everybody is important,” he added.

Gov. Greg Abbott has since released a statement:

“Our hearts are with those impacted by today’s tragic shooting and the entire Lakewood Church community in Houston. Places of worship are sacred. I have been in contact with Mayor Whitmire and offered the full support and resources of the State of Texas, including Department of Public Safety officers and Texas Rangers, to help this community and help bring swift justice to the criminal who committed this heinous act,” said Gov. Abbott. “Join Cecilia and me in praying for this community during this difficult time and for the brave men and women in blue who acted quickly to respond to this tragedy.”

This article was updated to reflect the latest reporting on the shooting. There has been no confirmation of a possible second suspect.

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