Two people are in the hospital and a suspect dead following a shooting at televangelist and pastor Joel Osteen’s Lakewood Church in Texas on Sunday.
Police say the suspect, a woman in her early 30s, entered the church around 2 p.m on the west side armed with a long rifle and wearing a trenchcoat and a backpack and immediately opened fire.
She was reportedly accompanied by a child about age four to five years old.
Two off-duty officers who were working security at the church returned fire hitting the woman. She was pronounced dead at the scene.
The child was shot during the incident and is hospitalized in critical condition. It it not clear who fired the shot that injured the child. A 57-year-old man who police say had nothing to do with the incident was shot in the leg and taken to the hospital for treatment, according to Houston Police Chief Troy Finner.
It’s unclear what was the motive for the shooting or what is the woman’s relationship to the injured child.
The chaos erupted just before the 2 p.m Spanish-speaking services were set to begin. Video from a church feed shows a host making announcements in Spanish, interrupted by the sound of gunshots and screams, according to CNN.
“Our community is devastated by today’s events and grateful for the swift actions of law enforcement,” Osteen said in a statement. “May the healing hands of God touch the lives of everyone involved and provide comfort during this difficult time.”
He continued: “In the face of such darkness, we must hold onto our faith and remember evil will not prevail. God will guide us through the darkest of times. Together, we will rise above this tragedy and stand firm in our commitment to love and support one another. In times like these, our faith is tested, but it is also strengthened. We don’t always understand why things like this happen, but we know that God is in control.”
At a press conference on Monday, Osteen blamed the shooting on “evil forces.”
“There are forces of evil,” he said. “The forces that are for us, forces of God, are stronger than that. They will go strong and do what God has called us to do, lift people up and give hope to the world.”