A gunman has fallen after a shooting at celebrity pastor Joel Osteen’s Houston megachurch Sunday afternoon, a Texas sheriff said Sunday.
Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez did not immediately provide further details in a post on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter. Lakewood Church, one of the largest megachurches in the United States, previously posted on social media that there was an “active situation involving gunfire” during a typically busy Sunday service.
Police and other law enforcement agencies had scheduled a news conference later Sunday.
Worshipers were seen leaving the building as authorities evacuated the church, and authorities said they were continuing to systematically search the building as a precaution. Approximately 45,000 people attend worship services in Lakewood each week.
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Celebrity pastor Joel Osteen’s Houston megachurch was attacked by gunfire on Sunday, surrounded by heavy police security and worshipers could be seen streaming out of the building during a busy weekend of services.
Lakewood Church posted on X (formerly Twitter) that there was an “active situation involving shots fired” at the church. The Harris County Sheriff’s Office posted on its platform that the “shooter has fallen” but did not provide further details.
Witnesses told reporters they heard multiple gunshots as the church’s 2 p.m. Spanish-language service was about to begin.
“I started screaming, ‘There’s a gunman, there’s a gunman,'” Christina Rodriguez, who was inside the church, told Houston television station KTRK. She then said she and the others ran to the back of the library inside the church and stood there. She climbed the stairs before being told she was safe.
Police had scheduled a press conference for Sunday afternoon.
People stood outside the building as authorities evacuated the church. Authorities later announced they had set up a reunion center at a nearby gym for people to find loved ones.
About 45,000 people attend Lakewood services each week, making it the third-largest megachurch in the United States, according to the Hartford Institute of Religion. Osteen’s televised sermons have reached approximately 100 countries.