Police report shooting at Texas megachurch run by celebrity pastor Joel Osteen
HOUSTON (AP) — Police in Texas said Sunday that they were responding to a possible shooting at the Houston megachurch run by celebrity pastor Joel Osteen.
In a tweet on X, formerly known as Twitter, Lakewood Church said there was “an active situation involving shots fired” at the church. “That is all the information we have at this time. Please pray for Lakewood and our community,” the church said in the post.
Jodi Silva, a Houston police spokeswoman, said officers were responding to the church but she did not have any additional details.
Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez said in a tweet on X that it was “believed that a possible shooter is down, shot by one of our deputy’s on-scene.”
He later said all additional information would be released by police and he headed to the scene.
Christina Rodriguez, who was inside the church, told KTRK that she “started screaming, ‘There’s a shooter, there’s a shooter,’” and then she and others ran to the backside of a library inside the building, then stood in a stairway before they were told it was safe to leave.
People stood outside the building as authorities evacuated the church. Officials later announced a reunification center had been set up for people to find their loved ones, at a nearby fitness center.
Witnesses told reporters that they heard multiple shots fired around the time the church’s 2 p.m. Spanish language service was set to begin.
About 45,000 people attend weekly services at Lakewood, making it the third largest megachurch in the U.S., according to the Hartford Institute for Religion Research.
Osteen’s televised sermons reach about 100 countries.