Pipe Bomb Explodes at Church, Woman Injured
HOUSTON (AP) _ A pipe bomb mailed to a church exploded this morning, injuring the pastor’s daughter, the church said.
People near the Lakewood Church told police they heard a loud pop and then a person screaming.
Lisa Osteen, the 30-year-old daughter of the Rev. John Osteen, pastor of the 10,000-member Baptist church, was taken to Ben Taub Hospital, where she was in stable condition suffering from burns, authorities said.
KHOU-TV reported that the bomb contained six- to eight-inch nails and that it blew up in Ms. Osteen’s lap.
There was no immediate confirmation from police.
In December, nail-studded mail bombs killed a white judge near Birmingham, Ala., and a black civil rights lawyer in Savannah, Ga., in related attacks investigators believe were motivated by race. The Houston church is mostly white.
Ms. Osteen was in an office in an auxiliary building across the street from the main church when the bomb went off, the church said.
″We did have apparently a pipe bomb that came in a small package just in our regular mail that was picked up at the local post office today,″ an unidentified church spokeswoman told reporter this morning.
″As normal procedure, Lisa Osteen opened the package, there was an explosion and she did seem to have some injuries, but not anything critical.″
Calls to the church were answered by a recording saying, ″Hello, this is Lakewood Church. We have had a minor explosion here in the church office. Everything is fine, we just want to reassure you that everything is fine here at the church. We will be off the phone for a short period of time. Thank you. God bless you.″
Investigators with the FBI and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms were en route to the church, the TV station said. Authorities were trying to find the postmark on the package, the station said.
The pastor was not at the church this morning. His daughter is director of ministries there.