A man accused of making threats at a Houston-area church was shot and killed in the parking lot, according to Texas officials.
Deputies with the Harris County Sheriff’s Office responded to Lake Houston Methodist Church at about 9:15 a.m. Sunday, Nov. 12, after receiving a call about a “suspicious male,” Sheriff Ed Gonzalez said during a news briefing streamed on the sheriff’s office’s Facebook page.
According to witnesses, the man approached churchgoers and began making threats against the church’s pastor and saying “today was going to be the day,” Gonzalez said. The man also said that his mother had some previous involvement with the church, Gonzalez added.
When deputies arrived at the scene, the man was gone, according to Gonzalez.
The church, or one of its members, alerted another man about what happened and he came to help, bringing a rifle with him, Gonzalez said.
The man making threats returned and was driving around the parking lot, Gonzalez said. At some point, he got out of his vehicle and began running toward the armed man, who fired two shots, killing him, according to Gonzalez.
There were at least 50 people inside the church when shots rang out, Gonzalez said.
“It’s tragic that these types of things can occur anywhere, any time,” he said.
Officials have not publicly identified the man.
The armed man works with EquuSearch, KTRK reported.
EquuSearch is a nonprofit that “provides search and recovery services to families of missing persons and law enforcement,” according to the group’s website.
Tim Miller, founder and director of the organization, told the outlet that the man was there “for the protection of the people at the church.”
“He’s a great member. He’s dedicated. He’s done wonderful work. He’s always there for people out there with missing loved ones,” Miller said, according to the outlet.
An investigation is underway, Gonzalez said.