A woman entered a major church in Houston with a child and began shooting. Here’s what we know

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Authorities are investigating Sunday afternoon shooting at Pastor Joel Osteen’s Lakewood church — about 6 miles from downtown Houston — where they said a woman entered with a young child and began shooting before law enforcement killed her.

The woman, estimated to be between 30 and 35 years old, entered the megachurch shortly before 2 p.m., wearing a coat and armed with a long gun and a backpack, Houston Police Chief Troy Fenner said at a news conference Sunday afternoon.

The police chief said that the young child was injured during the shooting and is in hospital in critical condition. Police did not share details about a possible motive for the shooting or clarify the woman’s relationship with the child who accompanied her. Another man was also injured.

The shooting is just the latest example of gun violence disrupting American life in a place once thought to be safe: a place of worship. Others were in Schools, Grocery stores, shopping centers, Hospitals, Universities And House parties.

Here’s what we know.

A woman opened fire at Lakewood Church on Sunday in Houston, Texas, authorities said. -Jennifer Lake/SIPAPRE/Sipa/AP

Two off-duty law enforcement officers confronted the shooter

The woman entered the church accompanied by a child whose age Fener estimated to be between “4 and 5 years old.”

“Once she got inside, at some point she started shooting,” the chief said.

Two off-duty officers were present: a 28-year-old Houston Police Department officer and a 38-year-old agent with the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission, both with less than five years of service. The police chief said the two officers clashed with the shooter and she was injured.

She died at the scene, Fenner said. The child was also injured and was taken to the hospital in critical condition, but it was not clear who fired the bullet that hit the child. CNN contacted the police to obtain more information.

“I want to commend these officers. She had a long gun and it could have been a lot worse,” Fenner said. “But they stepped up and did their jobs, and I want to thank them for that.”

A man was also shot in the leg and is receiving treatment at a local hospital, Fenner said. Authorities said the man was in stable condition.

Both officers who responded to the shooter will be placed on administrative duty pending the investigation, as is the case with officer-involved shootings, Fenner said.

“It’s traumatic not only for our community, but it’s certainly traumatic for the officers who had to take their own lives, and we’re concerned about their mental health as well, so our prayers are with them,” Houston Fire Chief Samuel Peña said at the news conference on Sunday.

In this image from video provided by KTRK-TV, authorities respond Sunday to a shooting at Lakewood Church, the Houston megachurch of popular pastor Joel Osteen.  - KTRK-TV ABC13/AP

In this image from video provided by KTRK-TV, authorities respond Sunday to a shooting at Lakewood Church, the Houston megachurch of popular pastor Joel Osteen. – KTRK-TV ABC13/AP

The woman also threatened to have a bomb

The shooter also threatened her that she had a bomb, but authorities searched her car and backpack and found no explosives, the Houston police chief said.

Fenner said she was also spraying “some type of substance on the ground,” but did not reveal further details. Peña said fire authorities were at the scene and would take “our time to make sure any problem or any danger we see is properly investigated.”

“At this time, I can safely say that we have not found anything of concern to our community or this location, but we will take our time to make sure we look at every aspect,” the fire chief added.

CNN has reached out to the Houston Fire Department for more information.

The police chief said authorities would conduct a systematic search of the megachurch building – located in a sports arena – but did not believe there was any further danger to the public. He added that the shooting appeared to be an isolated incident.

Texas Governor Greg Abbott He said it was They have been in contact with local and state officials and have offered “full support and resources” from the state to help the community.

“Join Cecilia and me in praying for his community during this difficult time and for the brave men and women in blue who acted quickly to respond to this tragedy,” Abbott added.

First responders and law enforcement surround the area after the shooting at Joel Osteen's Lakewood Church in Houston on Sunday.  -Callahan O'Hare/Reuters

First responders and law enforcement surround the area after the shooting at Joel Osteen’s Lakewood Church in Houston on Sunday. -Callahan O’Hare/Reuters

The witness describes the “erratic” sound of shots and screams

In a news conference on Sunday, Pastor Austin said the shooting occurred while the church was “between services” and preparing to go to the Spanish service.

“We are devastated,” he said. “We’ve been here for 65 years, and we have someone shooting up your church…”

“I can only imagine if it would have happened during the 11 a.m. Mass,” Austin later added.

A woman who was inside the church at the time of the shooting said CNN affiliate KHOU Austin was greeting everyone after the service and was among the last people to see him.

Carlos Gonzalez, worship singer, hugs a fellow church member after the shooting at Joel Osteen's Lakewood Church in Houston.  -Callahan O'Hare/Reuters

Carlos Gonzalez, worship singer, hugs a fellow church member after the shooting at Joel Osteen’s Lakewood Church in Houston. -Callahan O’Hare/Reuters

Shortly after, she told the news station she heard repeated explosions, almost like “mechanical noises.”

“It sounded like the folding tables were being dismantled and dropped onto the floor,” she said. “But they were irregular.”

The woman said she then heard another set of gunshots and saw people screaming and running away. She ran into a room and was crammed inside with several other people, including a child. The group placed two large wooden boards on the door to prevent it from opening, and then began to pray.

“We were thankful,” she said. “We could have been a victim. We could have been shot.”

CNN’s Raja Razek contributed to this report.

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