During a religious service at Lakewood Church, a woman in a trench coat and backpack opened fire with a long rifle. The shooting occurred immediately after the English service had ended and the Spanish service was about to begin. The woman fired several magazines, claiming to have a bomb, while the faithful sought shelter from the bullets.
Police officers who were attending the function killed the woman, but not before she injured two people – including a 5-year-old child. The church, which welcomes 45,000 faithful every week and broadcasts in 100 countries around the world, was evacuated after rumors spread of a second attacker. However, these rumors turned out to be unfounded.
Joel Osteen, the televangelist of Lakewood Church, said he didn’t know why such an incident happened but assured that “God is in control.” The police have not yet provided any information on the identity of the woman or her possible motivation for carrying out the attack. Her car was also inspected for explosives.
According to research conducted by Lifeway Research, an association affiliated with the Southern Baptist Convention, 55% of pastors have created response plans for possible armed attacks during religious services.