Three Dead, One Critically Injured After Lightning Strike Near White House

An elderly couple and a man in his late 20s are dead after a lightning strike near the White House this week.

According to reports, 76-year-old James Mueller and 75-year-old Donna Mueller were in the nation’s capital on Thursday to celebrate their 56th wedding anniversary and were among the four people critically injured in the severe storm. The Janesville, Wisconsin, residents later died from their injuries.

A niece described them as selfless individuals who “would do anything for their family and friends.”

Michelle McNett went on to explain that the Muellers’ loved ones saw coverage of the lightning strike on the news but could have never imagined that her aunt and uncle were among those who were struck.

All four victims were initially listed in critical condition after lightning struck in Lafayette Park. The name of the 29-year-old man who later died of his injuries was not immediately released.

As one witness recalled, there was a “horrific boom” just before the deadly lightning strike.

“I was just in a state of shock,” David Root said. “I just couldn’t believe it. [It] was surreal. I have never seen anything like this in my entire life.”

White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre issued a statement expressing condolences for the friends and relatives of those killed in the storm.

“Our hearts are with the families who lost loved ones and we are praying for those still fighting for their lives,” she said.

Authorities said that Secret Service agents and Park Police officers were nearby when the lightning strike occurred near a statue of Andrew Jackson and were able to respond almost immediately to assist those who were injured.

According to D.C. Fire and EMS spokesperson Vito Maggiolo, first responders are trained to help “improve the survivability of patients that we render aid to,” though there was nothing the officers could do at that time to save the lives of the three people who were killed.

“The only thing I can say is my condolences to the family and friends who are going to be impacted by this,” Maggiolo said.

The latest incident occurred about two years after lightning struck in the same park during demonstrations related to the police-related death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Although two National Guard members were injured in that storm, neither sustained life-threatening injuries.