WASHINGTON: Three people were killed and a fourth was in critical condition after being struck by lightning on a street from the White House Thursday night, the Metropolitan Police Department said Friday evening.
Police identified two people who died Friday morning: James Mueller, 76, and Donna Mueller, 75, both of Janesville, Wis. Later, the department said it was notified that a third victim had died: a 29-year-old man whose name is being withheld pending family notification.
An MPD spokesperson said the condition of an adult woman was still critical.
In a statement Friday morning, White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said: “We are saddened by the tragic loss of life after lightning struck Lafayette Park. Our hearts are with the families who have lost loved ones, and We are praying for those who are still fighting for their lives.”
Vito Magiolo, a spokesman for the DC Fire and Emergency Medical Services Department, said Thursday night that agency personnel found the victims in Lafayette Square shortly before 7 p.m. with “serious, life-threatening” injuries. ET.
Magiolo said four persons – two adult men and two adult women – were taken to hospitals in critical condition.
Magiolo said that the Uniformed Secret Service and the U.S. Park police officers had witnessed the lightning strike and began treating victims before fire and emergency medical personnel arrived.
NBC News has reached out to the White House, the National Park Service and the Secret Service for comment.
Shortly before officials reacted to the incident, the National Weather Service issued a severe gale warning warning that possible hail and gusts of 60 mph would hit Washington, D.C.
Lafayette Square is to the north of the White House and is frequented by tourists and protesters, as well as workers in nearby private and government buildings. The park was the site of a racial justice protest that was violently cleared by federal police officers in June 2020.