3 dead, 1 in critical condition after lightning strikes near the White House

3 dead, 1 in critical condition after lightning strikes near the White House

Three people who were critically injured in a lightning strike outside the White House have died, police confirmed to CBS News on Friday. Another was still hospitalized with life-threatening injuries.

James Mueller, 76, and Donna Mueller, 75, of Janesville, Wis., died from their injuries after the lightning strike in Lafayette Park, which is just outside the White House complex, the Metropolitan Police Department said.

Mueller’s niece, Michelle McNett, said in a statement that the couple were high school sweethearts on a trip to celebrate their 56th wedding anniversary. They leave behind five children, 10 grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.

“The family asks for privacy and prayers as they navigate this sudden tragedy,” McNett said.

A 29-year-old man died on Friday, one day after the strike, the Metropolitan Police Department said. It did not release any other information about the victim pending notification of next of kin.

A woman is still in hospital, the police said. Her identity was not immediately released.

The lightning strike was reported at 6:52 p.m. The victims were near a statue of Andrew Jackson, Maggiolo said, adding that “it appeared they were near a tree.”

Uniformed Secret Service agents and US Park Police officers who were in the area and saw the strike administered first aid to the victims, Maggiolo said.

“Your agents, your officers, witnessed this lightning strike and immediately began rendering aid,” Maggiolo said.

It is unclear exactly what the victims were doing at the time.

“We are saddened by the tragic loss of life following the lightning strike in Lafayette Park,” White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said in a statement. “Our hearts go out to the families who lost loved ones and we pray for those who are still fighting for their lives.”

A CBS News camera recording on the White House North Lawn around the time of the lightning strike captured the powerful rumble of thunder.

“The thunder was so loud, @gabrielle_ake and I jumped in terror,” CBS News White House chief Nancy Cordes tweeted. “‘It’s too close – we’re shutting down,’ advised photographer Ron Windham.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.