A woman opened fire with a long gun at a well-known megachurch in Houston, Texas, on Sunday. She was shot shortly afterwards by security forces present, as the responsible police authority announced at a press conference. The security forces were two police officers who were not on duty. The shooter had her seven-year-old son with her, it said.
The boy was shot during the firefight and is in critical condition. Shortly after the crime, the police initially spoke of an estimated five-year-old child. An uninvolved man was also injured in the leg in the attack.
The church is the Lakewood Church of Protestant celebrity preacher Joel Osteen. According to media reports, 45,000 people in Lakewood attend weekly services. However, according to the church website, there was no service taking place at the time of the crime. According to police, the investigation is ongoing.
It was still too early to name a motive for the crime, police said on Monday. However, “some anti-Semitic writings” were discovered. There are indications that the alleged perpetrator was involved in a dispute with her ex-husband's family, some of whom were Jewish. However, the investigations continued. According to previous findings, the woman acted alone.
In the USA, rampages and fatal shootings are sadly part of everyday life. Firearms are easily available there and are widely circulated. Bloody attacks with many victims regularly shake the country - for example at schools, supermarkets, nightclubs or at large events. In most cases the perpetrators are men. Gun attacks by women are statistically rare.
After every major attack of this kind, there are new calls for gun laws to be tightened, for example for a ban on assault rifles, which are regularly used in mass shootings. However, the demands are in vain, not least because of resistance from the Republican ranks.