HOUSTON – A man was charged after he was accused of shooting at the windows of a church in east Houston on Saturday.
Josue David Cordova, 27, was charged with homicide and aggravated assault after shooting at The Light of the World church.
The shooting was reported at 12:45 p.m. while a group of women, men and children were in the building, the gathering said.
Pastor Bigvai Estrada said they were concerned for the safety and wellbeing of church members.
“That Sunday morning, Church members asked me if it was safe to go to the temple,” Estrada said.
The surveillance video shows Cordova pulling up next to the temple in a gray SUV and then hiding behind a tree for about 20 seconds.
“It started off like a typical Saturday afternoon, with Church members eating lunch on the lawn and others doing volunteer work. Suddenly brothers heard bang, bang, bang, ”he said.
Estrada said Cordova fired at least 12 shots at the windows. He said the shooter was also seen pointing the gun at a Church member and pulling the trigger, but his gun had no bullets.
He said bullets went through several windows and walls in the church conference room.
“We prepare our coffee in this room. So if we had stood here the bullets would have hit us, ”said Estrada.
Pastor Estrada said no one was hurt by God’s grace.
“This has to stop, this kind of violence against Christian churches has to stop. It has no place in our society, ”he said.
Estrada said this was the third shooting this year.
“It was a very terrifying experience,” he said.
The Church believes the shooting stems from the controversy surrounding Naason Juaoquin Garcia, the leader of the Church. He also says that every time there is negative press around the church, the churches are attacked.
The Light of the World is part of a local, faith-based church that is independently organized and directed by a local board in each city.
“So when something happens in another state / country and it’s on the news, people target the churches even if it has nothing to do with the local church,” Estrada said.
Estrada had a message for the accused shooter:
“What I ask is respect. We respect everyone and ask for respect. “
Jack Freeman, a Houston ward spokesman, issued the following statement:
“We are saddened and deeply concerned about the attack on The Light of the World congregation in Houston, Texas yesterday. It is a terrible and shocking thing when people are shot, and thank God that none of the 12 bullets the gunman fired did any harm to those in the temple.
“Unfortunately, this is not the first time our communities have been the target of religious hate crimes. We want to make it clear that this cruel act is not just an attack on members of The Light of The World – it is an attack on the principles of religious freedom guaranteed to all by the United States Constitution. Those who sow religious intolerance must be held accountable. “
Cordova will have a preliminary hearing on Monday.
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