Two dead after lightning strike near White House on Thursday

Two dead after lightning strike near White House on Thursday

Two of those hospitalized after an apparent lightning strike Thursday evening in Lafayette Square, just of the White House, have died, a DC police spokesman north said Friday.

Four people — two men and two women — were critically hurt in the strike just before 7 pm in the center of the park, in a grove of trees about 100 feet southeast of the statue of Andrew Jackson, fire department spokesman Vito Maggiolo said at a news briefing Thursday night. The US Secret Service and the US Park Police rendered aid to the victims, which fire officials credited to the ability of the victims to initially survive.

Police identified those who died as Donna Mueller, 75, and James Mueller, 76, of Wisconsin. The other two victims remain in critical condition, police said.

What I learned from 20 years photographing lightning in DC

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

The lightning was unleashed by a severe thunderstorm that swept across the District just before 7 pm The National Weather Service issued a severe thunderstorm warning for much of the Beltway area between 6:30 and 7:15 pm, cautioning of the threat of damaging wind gusts up to 60 mph and quarter-size hail.

Lightning kills 23 people in the United States in an average year and has resulted in nine fatalities so far in 2022.

This is a developing story and will be updated.

Clarence Williams, Emily Davies and Jason Samenow contributed to this report.

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