Three people now dead and one critically injured following lightning strike on Thursday outside White House
- Donna Mueller, 75, and James Mueller, 76, were among the four injured by a lightning strike near the White House on Thursday
- A third person, who has not yet been identified, has been confirmed to have died according to Maryland Police Department
- The pair were visiting from Wisconsin when they were injured before 7pm near a tree at a DC park
- The National Weather Service had issued a severe thunderstorm warning on Thursday for Washington D.C. between 6.30 and 7.15pm
An elderly couple and an unidentified person who were hospitalized on Thursday after being critically injured by a lightning strike while sight-seeing at Lafayette Square near the White House, have died.
Donna Mueller, 75, and James Mueller, 76, were visiting DC from Janesville, Wisconsin, when lightning struck them near a tree along with two others.
Police confirmed on Thursday afternoon that a third person has died. They have not yet been identified.
'We are saddened by the tragic loss of life after the lightning strike in Lafayette Park,' White House Press Secretary Karine Jeane-Pierre wrote in a statement. 'Our hearts are with the families who lost loved ones, and we are praying for those still fighting for their lives.'
The other two victims, a male and a female, haven't been identified.
Fox News cameras may have captured the lightning strike that injured the four victims. A video posted shows a lightning strike around the same time as the incident.
A CBS News reporter was on the White House North Lawn on Thursday when a lightning struck nearby. The reporter is seen jumping in fear while another person is heard saying, 'That's too close, we're shutting down.'
Donna Mueller, 75, and James Mueller, 76, were sightseeing at Lafayette Square near the White House when they were struck by lightning along with two others. The map above shows where lightning hit on Thursday
Officers from the US Secret Service and US Park Police went to assist the victims immediately, according to VIto Maggiolo, a DC Fire and EMS spokesperson.
Maggiolo said it was likely that the four people caught in the incident tried to seek shelter under the nearby tree when the storm passed along just before 7pm.
The Fire and EMS spokesperson noted that trees are not the ideal shelter during thunderstorms.
'Trees are not safe places,' Maggiolo said. 'Anybody that goes to seek shelter under a tree, that's a very dangerous place to be.'
Lafayette Square (pictured) is near the White House. The four victims were immediately assisted
Officers of the U.S. Secret Service and U.S. Park Police, which have a regular presence in the square, went to the assistance of the victims immediately
The National Weather Service (NWS) issued a severe thunderstorm warning for Washington D.C. between 6:30 and 7:15 p.m
Lafayette Square, a seven-acre public park that lies directly north of the White House, is often crowded with visitors, especially in the summer months.
A violent thunderstorm swept through the capital late in the day.
The National Weather Service (NWS) issued a severe thunderstorm warning for the area between 6:30 and 7:15 p.m., cautioning of wind gusts up to 60 mph.
Temperatures in Washington exceeded 90 degrees Fahrenheit on Thursday, although, with the high humidity, the heat felt like more than 100F, forecasters said.