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Lakewood Church shooting: Woman with child in tow opens fire inside Joel Osteen's Texas megachurch

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Two people were injured and one suspect was killed during a shooting at Joel Osteen’s Lakewood Church on Sunday afternoon, Texas authorities say. 

During a press conference, police chief Troy Finner said that the shooting began at 1:53 p.m. It happened at around the time that the Spanish language church service was scheduled to start.

The suspect, who was a woman, entered the church with a long rifle. She was wearing a backpack and a trench coat, and was accompanied by a “small child, approximately 4 to 5 years old,” Finner said.

After she began shooting, off-duty officers at the scene “engaged” the woman and returned fire. The suspect was pronounced dead at the scene. 

Two people were shot during the shooting at Lakewood Church, police say. (KHOU)

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Police said that two people were injured, including a 57-year-old man who was shot in the leg. The child that the shooter came with was also injured and remains in critical condition. 

Finner also disclosed that the suspect mentioned that she had a bomb.

“Once she went down, officers reported back to us that she threatened that she had a bomb,” the police chief explained. “So we searched her vehicle, our bomb squad, and also the backpack [she brought].”

Police car at scene

Police chief Troy Finner said that the female shooter is dead. (KHOU)

“No explosives were found, but she was also spraying some type of substance on the ground.”

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Police said the shooting appears to be isolated and they believe there is no further threat to the public.

During the press conference, senior pastor Joel Osteen thanked law enforcement and said that he was “devastated” by the shooting. 

“We don’t understand why all these things happened, but we know God’s in control,” Osteen said.

“We’re going to continue to to move forward. There are forces of evil, but the forces that are for us, the forces of God, are stronger than that,” he continued. “So we’re going to keep going strong and just, you know, doing what God’s called us to do, lift people up and give hope to the world again.”

SUSPECT ACCUSED OF KILLING 7 IN ILLINOIS KILLED HIMSELF WHEN FOUND BY US MARSHALS IN TEXAS: POLICE

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Two police officers walking at scene

Off-duty Houston police officers shot the female suspect at Lakewood Church, authorities say. (KHOU)

The death of the shooter was first announced by Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez earlier that afternoon.

“Correction: shooter is down,” Gonzalez wrote on social media. “But it does not appear that@HCSOTexas deputies fired shots; other agencies fired.”

“We continue to assist in a methodical/thorough search of the complex.”

At around 2:10 p.m. CT, Gonzalez announced that there were “possible shots fired at/or around Lakewood Church.” Less than an hour later, Texas police confirmed that the scene was Lakewood Church.

Police later advised that anyone with missing family members should head to the “family reunification location” at Greenway Plaza’s Life Time Fitness gym.

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Lakewood Church surrounded by police

Texas authorities arrived to investigate an active shooting at Lakewood Church. (KRIV)

Lakewood Church confirmed on X that there was a shooting and asked that users “please pray for Lakewood and our community.”

In a press release sent to local outlets, Governor Greg Abbott called the shooting “tragic.”

“Our hearts are with those impacted by today’s tragic shooting and the entire Lakewood Church community in Houston,” Abbott said. “Places of worship are sacred.”

Texas police cruisers

No fatalities were reported from the shooter besides the suspect. (KHOU)

Fox News Digital reached out to the Harris County Sheriff’s Office and the Houston Police Department for comment.

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Fox News Digital’s Brooke Curto contributed to this report.

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Southwest

Texas authorities say nearly three dozen roosters seized at illegal cockfighting event

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Nearly three dozen roosters were seized by Texas authorities following an investigation into a large cockfighting ring, officials said. 

The Caldwell County Sheriffs Office on Sunday said nine people were also detained and 20 vehicles and a trailer were towed.

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The alleged cockfighting ring was linked to the 3090 block of Dry Creek Road in Lockhart, the sheriff’s office said. Authorities have cracked down on the illegal practice in recent years. 

FILE – Roosters attack each other during rooster fight as part of Jonbeel festival in India. Authorities in Texas said 35 roosters were seized on Sunday at an illegal cockfighting event. (AP Photo/Anupam Nath)

In November, the San Jacinto County Sheriff’s Office said hundreds of people were in attendance at an illegal cockfighting event. 

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Deputies were also able to locate various items of gambling paraphernalia including a dry-erase board documenting various “fights/matches” between birds which indicated that some 44 matches/fights had already taken place earlier in the day.

In April 2022, a man was attacked and killed by a rooster in Ireland. Jasper Kraus was allegedly attacked by a Brahma chicken that was moved to his property in Ballinasloe after it attacked a child.

The rooster had a history of attacking people. 

Kraus was found on the ground in the kitchen in a pool of blood with a wound on the back of one of his legs.

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Los Angeles, Ca

Stolen big rig burst into flames after pursuit in Southern California

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Stolen big rig burst into flames after pursuit in Southern California

Authorities with the California Highway Patrol were in pursuit of a driver in a suspected stolen tractor-trailer big-rig truck out of Bakersfield Wednesday night.  

The suspect led CHP in pursuit on the southbound 5 Freeway, near the 405 Freeway interchange shortly after the pursuit was initiated. The driver later transitioned onto the eastbound 134 Freeway.  

Hitting speeds of around 70 miles per hour, the big rig was seen swerving from side to side on the freeway.  

  • Stolen big-rig burst into flames after pursuit in Southern California
  • Stolen big-rig burst into flames after pursuit in Southern California
  • Stolen big-rig burst into flames after pursuit in Southern California
  • Stolen big-rig burst into flames after pursuit in Southern California

The suspect later made his way to the eastbound 210 Freeway toward San Bernardino County where officers successfully deployed a spike strip in the Claremont area, blowing out the front tires on the big rig.  

In Rancho Cucamonga, the big rig caught fire. The driver exited the vehicle and fled.

He was taken into custody not long after.  

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The big rig was fully engulfed in flames as the fire department was responding and traffic on the freeway was at a complete standstill.

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Southwest

NASA seeks participants for second year-long Mars mission simulation

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NASA is searching for the next four-person crew to participate in a one-year program at Johnson Space Center in Houston, simulating life and conditions on the planet Mars.

The mission will be the second of three year-long Mars surface simulations called Crew Health and Performance Exploration Analog, or CHAPEA, and is expected to kick off in the Spring of 2025.

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The first four-person crew was locked into the habitat, called the Mars Dune Alpha, in June 2023, and is more than half way through their mission.

The inaugural crew consists of Commander Kelly Haston, a research scientist with experience in stem cell-based projects; flight engineer Ross Brockwell, a structural engineer and public works administrator; medical officer Nathan Jones; and science officer Anca Selariu.

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A four-person crew entered a Mars simulator in June 2023, where they will live for the next 378 days. (NASA)

The data acquired through the simulations is intended to help NASA prepare for human exploration of Mars.

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NASA said in a press release that the Mars Dune Alpha habitat simulates challenges of a mission to Mars, including resource limitations, equipment failures, communication delays and other environmental stressors.

Some of the tasks crew members may participate in are robotic operations, spacewalks, habitat maintenance, exercise and crop growth.

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Space walk area of the Mars simulation

The crew will practice space performance in the space walk area. (Joy Addison/Fox News)

NASA is looking for U.S. citizens or permanent residents who are healthy, non-smokers, between 30-55 years old and proficient in English.

The selection follows the standards NASA uses when considering astronaut candidates.

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Specifically, a master’s degree in a STEM field like engineering, mathematics, or biological, physical or computer science from an accredited institution, plus two years of professional experience is required. Alternatively, anyone with over 1,000 hours piloting a plane will be considered.

NASA SEALS 4-PERSON CREW IN MARS SIMULATOR FOR NEXT 378 DAYS

virtual realty set

NASA could not simulate the gravity on Mars. (Joy Addison/Fox News)

NASA said it may consider candidates with two years of work completed toward a doctoral program in STEM, a medical degree, four years of professional experience, military officer training or a Bachelor of Science degree in a STEM field.

The deadline to apply is April 2.

With backgrounds in science and engineering, the crew members will be part of a simulated mission to Mars, where the crew will eat, drink and exercise while in simulation.

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The 1,700-square-foot, 3D printed facility is about the size of a three-to-four-bedroom house and will be used for NASA’s longest analog mission to date: 378 days.

The habitat will be a place where the crew will practice personal hygiene and healthcare, like drawing blood, while also allowing them to exercise, grow food and collect geological samples.

The habitat will be packed with all the supplies that will go to Mars. What the habitat will not be able to simulate, though, is the red planet’s gravity.

But that is where virtual reality comes into play. While in the habitat, virtual reality will allow crew members to simulate space walks or Mars walks, as well as other tasks the crew may encounter on Mars, including removing dust from the space suit or solar panels or repairing the habitat.

 

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As crew members live within the confines of the simulator, scientists will be measuring their performance, cognition and health over the year to understand what the crew will go through.

The data collected will then be handed to the vehicle planners.

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