WASHINGTON — Two people have died and two others are in critical condition after a lightning strike across the street from the White House Thursday night, the Metropolitan Police Department said Friday.
A police spokesman identified the deceased as James Mueller, 76, and Donna Mueller, 75, both of Janesville, Wisconsin.
Two other victims are still in critical condition, the spokesman said.
Karine Jean-Pierre, White House press secretary, said in a statement Friday morning: “We are saddened by the tragic loss of life following the lightning strike in Lafayette Park. Our hearts are with the families who have lost loved ones, and we pray for them.” still fighting for their lives.”
A spokesman for the DC Fire and Emergency Medical Services Department, Vito Maggiolo, said on Thursday night agency staff found the victims with “critical, life-threatening” injuries in Lafayette Square shortly before 7 p.m. ET.
The four people — two adult men and two adult women — were transported to area hospitals in critical condition, Maggiolo said.
Uniformed Secret Service and U.S. park police officers had witnessed the lightning strike and began treating the victims before firefighters and emergency medical personnel arrived, Maggiolo said.
He added that it was not clear whether the persons were related.
NBC News has reached out to the White House, the National Park Service and the Secret Service for comment.
Shortly before authorities responded to the incident, the National Weather Service reported had spent a “severe thunderstorm warning” warning that possible hail and wind gusts up to 60 mph could hit Washington, DC
Located north of the White House, Lafayette Square 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 forcibly evicted by federal police officers in June 2020.