Three people seriously injured in a lightning strike outside the White House have died, police confirmed to CBS News on Friday. Another remained hospitalized with life-threatening injuries.
James Mueller, 76, and Donna Mueller, 75, of Janesville, Wisconsin, died of their injuries after lightning struck in Lafayette Park, located just outside the White House complex, the department said. of the Metropolitan Police.
The Muellers’ niece, Michelle McNett, said in a statement that the couple were high school sweethearts and were 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, a day after the strike, the Metropolitan Police Department said. It has released no further information about the victim pending notification of next of kin.
A woman remains at the hospital, the police department said. His identity was not immediately revealed.
Lightning was reported at 6:52 p.m. The victims were near a statue of Andrew Jackson, Maggiolo said, adding that “it looked like they were near a tree.”
Uniformed Secret Service agents and U.S. Park Police officers who were in the area and witnessed the strike provided first aid to victims, Maggiolo said.
“Their agents, their officers, witnessed this thunderbolt and immediately began to help,” Maggiolo said.
It is not known 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 are with the families who have lost loved ones, and we pray for those who are still fighting for their lives.”
A CBS News camera recording on the North Lawn of the White House at the time of the lightning captured the powerful rumble of thunder.
“The thunder was so loud, @gabrielle_ake and I jumped in fear,” tweeted CBS News Chief White House Correspondent Nancy Cordes. “‘It’s too close – we’re closing,’ advised photographer Ron Windham.”