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Lakewood church: What we know about Texas megachurch shooting Lakewood church: Gunwoman killed in Texas megachurch shootout
(about 3 hours later)
Watch: Footage from inside the church captures the sound of gunshots being firedWatch: Footage from inside the church captures the sound of gunshots being fired
Watch: Footage from inside the church captures the sound of gunshots being firedWatch: Footage from inside the church captures the sound of gunshots being fired
A Texas woman has been shot and killed after she opened fire in a crowded megachurch owned by the evangelical pastor Joel Osteen. A woman clad in a trench coat and accompanied by a child opened fire in a crowded Texas megachurch before she was gunned down by police, officials say.
Two off-duty police officers, who were hired as church security, shot and killed the woman - who was in her 30s, Houston police chief Troy Finner said. The suspect, named by police as Genesse Ivonne Moreno, 36, was with her seven-year-old son, who was critically injured in the Houston shootout.
Two other people were shot, including an older man and a young boy who is in a critical condition in hospital. Investigators said the attacker had "Palestine" written on the butt of her rifle and they had uncovered antisemitic writings by her.
The suspect and victims have yet to be identified. But they said the motive is unclear.
It is unclear what prompted the shooting, and officers have refused to speculate on a motive. A 57-year-old man was wounded in the shooting and has since been discharged from hospital.
Here is what we know so far. Police said the suspect used an AR-15 rifle for the attack. She also had a .22 calibre rifle, but did not fire that weapon.
How the shooting happened Officials told Monday's news conference the attacker has a history of mental health issues.
Around 14:00 local time (20:00 GMT), the woman - who police said was aged between 30 and 35 years old - walked into the Houston megachurch carrying a long rifle, wearing a trench coat and backpack. Public records indicate Moreno has a long record of arrests and convictions on assault, drug, and weapons charges.
Mr Osteen, speaking at a police press conference on Sunday, said the church was about to start its afternoon Spanish-speaking service. She previously went by several other names including Jeffery Escalante and is variously listed as male and female in official records.
Houston Police Chief Troy Finner said the woman entered with a young boy, but did not comment on whether the two had any relationship. The site of the shooting was the Lakewood megachurch, one of the largest in the country, owned by evangelical pastor Joel Osteen.
Police said the shooter approached the church at 13:53 local time (19:53 GMT) just as a Spanish-speaking service was about to begin.
Shortly after she opened fire, a 28-year-old Houston police officer and a 38-year-old agent with the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission tried to subdue the woman and shot her.Shortly after she opened fire, a 28-year-old Houston police officer and a 38-year-old agent with the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission tried to subdue the woman and shot her.
"She had a long gun, and it could have been worse," Mr Finner said at the press conference. "But they stepped up and did their job." "Multiple rounds" were fired in the ensuing gun battle, officials said, before the attacker was "neutralised" and pronounced dead at 14:07.
He added that she was seen spraying "some type of substance on the ground". Houston Police Chief Troy Finner said Moreno was seen spraying "some type of substance on the ground", but investigators have determined the substance posed no risk.
After being shot, she told the two officers there was a bomb, but after a search law enforcement did not find any explosives in her backpack or vehicle.After being shot, she told the two officers there was a bomb, but after a search law enforcement did not find any explosives in her backpack or vehicle.
Who was injured? The gunwoman's son was shot in the head during the shootout and critically injured, said police.
It is not clear whether the young boy - who is around five years old - was struck by gunfire from an officer or the woman.
"That female, that suspect, put that baby in danger. I'm going to put that blame on her," Mr Finner said.
A male victim in his 50s was also taken to hospital.
The woman entered one of America's largest churches on Sunday and opened fireThe woman entered one of America's largest churches on Sunday and opened fire
Who is Joel Osteen and what is Lakewood Church?Who is Joel Osteen and what is Lakewood Church?
Mr Osteen, a 60-year-old televangelist, took the helm of one of the most popular megachurches in the country after his father and Lakewood's founding pastor died.Mr Osteen, a 60-year-old televangelist, took the helm of one of the most popular megachurches in the country after his father and Lakewood's founding pastor died.
The 16,000-seat church used to be home to the Houston Rockets, an NBA team, before undergoing renovations in the early 2000s.The 16,000-seat church used to be home to the Houston Rockets, an NBA team, before undergoing renovations in the early 2000s.
Under Mr Osteen's leadership, the church has grown in size and reputation, with 45,000 parishioners attending weekly services in person, in addition to thousands who watch online and on television.Under Mr Osteen's leadership, the church has grown in size and reputation, with 45,000 parishioners attending weekly services in person, in addition to thousands who watch online and on television.
It is the third-largest church in the country, according to the Hartford Institute for Religion Research.It is the third-largest church in the country, according to the Hartford Institute for Religion Research.
"Our community is devastated by today's events and grateful for the swift actions of law enforcement," Mr Osteen said in a statement. "In the face of such darkness, we must hold onto our faith and remember evil will not prevail." "Our community is devastated by today's events and grateful for the swift actions of law enforcement," Mr Osteen said in a statement.
"In the face of such darkness, we must hold onto our faith and remember evil will not prevail."
Known for promoting what is called the prosperity gospel, Mr Osteen often preaches that financial blessings are gifts from God and has published many books promising that faith will increase one's wealth.Known for promoting what is called the prosperity gospel, Mr Osteen often preaches that financial blessings are gifts from God and has published many books promising that faith will increase one's wealth.
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