3 dead, 1 injured in lightning strike near White House; couple celebrating anniversary among casualties

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A couple successful their 70s celebrating their day and a 29 year-old antheral person died aft a lightning strike near the White House during a tempest Thursday evening, authorities said. One different person is hospitalized with life-threatening injuries.

The lightning struck conscionable earlier 7 p.m. successful Lafayette Park crossed the thoroughfare from the White House, according to the D.C. Fire and Emergency Medical Services Department. 

James Mueller, 76, and Donna Mueller, 75, some from Janesville, Wisconsin, died from their injuries, Brianna Burch, spokesperson for the D.C. Metropolitan Police Department, told USA TODAY.

The 3rd victim, the 29 year-old, was pronounced dormant Friday. The 4th person, a woman, was successful captious condition, constabulary said. Their identities were not instantly released.

Authorities did not uncover however the radical were injured, different than to accidental they were critically wounded successful the lightning strike.

"We are saddened by the tragic nonaccomplishment of beingness aft the lightning onslaught successful Lafayette Park," White House property secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said successful a statement. 

All 4 were transported to hospitals with "critical life-threatening injuries," D.C. Fire and EMS said successful a tweet Thursday.

Spokesperson Vito Maggiolo said the lightning onslaught was witnessed by members of the U.S. Secret Service and the U.S. Park Police, who responded to the scene, D.C. Fire and EMS spokesperson Vito Maggiolo said. 

Parts of the D.C. metro country were nether a terrible thunderstorm informing Thursday evening, according to the National Weather Service.

James and Donna Mueller were celebrating their 56th wedding day with a travel to the nation's superior erstwhile they died, said Michelle McNett, the couple's niece. She remembered them arsenic precocious schoolhouse sweethearts who loved to creation and big gatherings for their close-knit family.

Donna was a retired teacher who worked part-time astatine a Janesville furnishings store portion Jim owned a drywall business, McNett said. They had 5 children, 10 grandchildren and 4 great-grandchildren.

"Both would bash thing for household oregon friends," McNett said.

There person been 9 different lightning fatalities successful the U.S. this year, John Jensenius, lightning information specializer for the National Lightning Safety Council, said successful an email to reporters.

The incidental is the archetypal lightning fatality successful Washington, D.C. since 1991 erstwhile 1 idiosyncratic was killed and 10 others were injured portion they sheltered adjacent a histrion astatine a lacrosse game, helium said.

Jensenius said radical should find a harmless spot to shelter, specified arsenic a building, immoderate clip a thunderstorm is successful their area. Sheltering nether a histrion tin beryllium unsafe due to the fact that "lightning tends to onslaught the tallest entity successful the contiguous area, which is often a tree."

Contributing: Jeanine Santucci, USA TODAY; Steven Martinez and Joe Taschler, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel; The Associated Press

Contact News Now Reporter Christine Fernando astatine [email protected] oregon travel her connected Twitter astatine @christinetfern.