HOUSTON (AP) — Texas police said Sunday they were responding to a possible shooting at the Houston megachurch led 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. “This is all the information we have at the moment. Please pray for Lakewood and our community,” the church said in the message.
Jodi Silva, a Houston police spokeswoman, said officers were responding to the church but she did not have additional details.
Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez said in a tweet on X that a possible shooter was “believed to be down, shot by one of our deputies on scene.” He later said any further information would be released by the police and he went to the scene.
Christina Rodriguez, who was inside the church, told KTRK that she “started yelling, ‘There’s a shooter, there’s a shooter,'” then she and others ran to the back of a library inside the building, then stood on a staircase before they were told they were safe to leave.
People stood outside the building as authorities evacuated the church. Authorities later announced that a reunification center had been set up so people could reunite with their loved ones, at a nearby fitness center.
Witnesses told reporters they heard several gunshots as the church’s 2 p.m. Spanish-language service was scheduled to begin.
About 45,000 people attend weekly services in Lakewood, making it the third largest megachurch in the United States, according to the Hartford Institute for Religion Research. Osteen’s televised sermons reach approximately 100 countries.