WASHINGTON The Metropolitan Police Department reported Friday night that a lightning strike that occurred across the street from the White House on Thursday night resulted in three fatalities and one person who is still in serious condition.
James Mueller, 76, and Donna Mueller, 75, both of Janesville, Wisconsin, were two of the victims, according to police, who released their names early on Friday. The department later said that it was informed of the death of a third victim, a 29-year-old man whose name is being withheld pending notification of his family.
According to an MPD representative, an adult woman is still in critical condition.
White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said in a statement early on Friday: “The regrettable death that resulted from the lightning strike in Lafayette Park saddens us. We pray for those still struggling for their life and our thoughts are with the families who lost loved ones.”
The victims were discovered near Lafayette Square just before 7 p.m. ET on Thursday night, according to Vito Maggiolo, a spokesperson for the D.C. Fire and Emergency Medical Services Department.
According to Maggiolo, the four people—two adult men and two adult women—were sent to hospitals in critical condition.
Before the arrival of fire and emergency medical personnel, uniformed Secret Service and U.S. Park Police officers had seen the lightning hit and had started tending to the casualties, according to Maggiolo.
The White House, National Park Service, and Secret Service have all been contacted by NBC News for comment.
The National Weather Service issued an had issued severe thunderstorm warning just before emergency personnel arrived on the scene, saying that Washington, D.C., would experience hail and wind gusts of up to 60 mph.
Workers from neighboring private and governmental buildings, visitors, and demonstrators all frequent Lafayette Square, which is located to the north of the White House. In June 2020, federal police officers violently dispersed a racial justice demonstration from the park.