Police stop shooter at Joel Osteen’s Houston megachurch

By Thomson Reuters Feb 11, 2024 | 4:31 PM

(Reuters) – Law enforcement in Houston took down an active shooter on Sunday at Lakewood Church, one of the largest evangelical churches in the U.S. led by televangelist Joel Osteen, a local sheriff said.

There were no immediate reports of injuries or fatalities after gunfire started at the Texas church shortly before 2 p.m. local time (2000 GMT). Several gunshots could be heard from inside the church in videos shown by local television station ABC 13, sending congregants scrambling for the exits.

The shooter was taken down by a law enforcement officer, the Harris County Sheriff posted on X, adding that the officer appeared to be from another agency.

Houston Police were expected to provide further updates at a news conference at 4:30 p.m. local time.

Lakewood Church, which seats some 16,000 people, is led by Osteen and his wife and co-pastor Victoria Osteen.

Joel Osteen is one of the wealthiest and most popular pastors and prosperity gospel preachers in the United States. According to the church’s website, Osteen’s media broadcasts, podcasts and radio programming reach millions of U.S. households and audiences worldwide.

The Houston church, located in the former sports arena for the Houston Rockets of the National Basketball Association, accommodates over 40,000 worshipers over a weekend.

(Reporting by Gabriella Borter in Washington; Editing by Lisa Shumaker)