Shooter down after gunfire erupts at Joel Osteen's church in Houston

Pastor Joel Osteen reacts to a shooting at his Houston, Texas, church on Sunday, Feb. 11, 2024. (Video screenshot)
Pastor Joel Osteen reacts to a shooting at his Houston, Texas, church on Sunday, Feb. 11, 2024.

UPDATE: Joel Osteen church shooter is transgender whose gun packed big political message

The shooter who opened fire Sunday at Joel Osteen’s church in Texas is dead, authorities say.

“Officials in Houston say a five-year-old is in critical condition and another man is injured following a shooting at Joel Osteen’s Lakewood Church. Another man was injured. The suspect is dead,” reported the Houston Fox affiliate.

“It’s heartbreaking,” said Fox 26 reporter Abigail Dye.

“It’s hard to find another word other than evil to bring a child to a church [for a shooting]. I have chills just thinking about it.”

“We’re not sure why any of this would happen in the first place.”

The suspect reportedly drove to the church with the 5-year-old child, and carried a long rifle under a trench coat and entered the church between services, shouting about a bomb.

But Houston Fire Chief Samuel Pena explained later at a news conference: “We have not found anything that is of concern to our community or to our nation.”

The young boy injured in the crossfire was the child the woman brought to the church. Also injured by gunfire was a 57-year-old man. Officers killed the shooter at the scene.

“It could have been a lot worse,” Osteen told reporters. “We’re devastated.”

“We don’t understand why these thing happen, but we know God’s in control.”

“We’re gonna stay strong and we’re gonna continue to move forward. There are forces of evil but the forces that are for us, the forces of God, are stronger than that.”

“So we’re going to keep going strong and just, you know, doing what God’s called us to do, lift people up and give hope to the world again.”

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott called the shooting “tragic.”

“Our hearts are with those impacted by todays’ tragic shooting and the entire Lakewood Church community in Houston,” Abbott said. “Places of worship are sacred.”

One woman who was reunited with her loved ones noted: “The worship team, they were singing when the incident happened.”

Law-enforcement authorities began tweeting about the situation while the shooting was unfolding.

“Shooter is down,” Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez wrote on X as the scene was unfolding. “But it does not appear that@HCSOTexas deputies fired shots; other agencies fired.”

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“We continue to assist in a methodical/thorough search of the complex.”

It was shortly after 2 p.m. Central Time that Gonzalez announced there were “possible shots fired at/or around Lakewood Church.”

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And within the hour, police confirmed the scene was, in fact, the church of the famous evangelist.

“The active scene is at Lakewood Church on the SW Fwy service road. Traffic is very heavy near and on the service road,” Houston Police wrote on X.

“Please avoid the area and use alternate routes. We have PIOs en route to the scene and will provide any and all updates here.”

The Lakewood Church itself stated: “There is an active situation involving shots fired at Lakewood. Law enforcement is on the scene.”

“That is all the information we have at this time. Please pray for Lakewood and our community.”

It was a much more peaceful scene earlier Sunday morning, as Lakewood Church posted photos of congregants coming to worship, along with the message: “In Scripture, Jesus fed the multitudes, gave sight to the blind, and raised the dead. Jesus still works miracles today, arranging divine connections to heal everything in your life.

“Welcome to Church this morning! We love seeing you all!”

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