WASHINGTON: Two people were killed and two others were in critical condition after being struck by lightning on a street from the White House Thursday night, the Metropolitan Police Department said on Friday.
A spokesman for the Police Department identified the deceased as 76-year-old James Mueller and 75-year-old Donna Mueller, both from Janesville, Wis.
The spokesman said that two more victims were in critical condition.
In a statement Friday morning, White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said, “We are saddened by the tragic loss of life after lightning struck Lafayette Park. Our hearts are with the families who have lost loved ones, and We are praying for those who are still fighting for their lives.”
Vito Magiolo, a spokesman for the DC Fire and Emergency Medical Services Department, said Thursday night that agency personnel found victims with “serious, life-threatening” injuries in Lafayette Square shortly before 7 p.m. ET.
Magiolo said four persons – two adult men and two adult women – were taken to regional hospitals in critical condition.
Magiolo said Uniform Secret Service and US Park Police officers had witnessed the lightning strike and began treating victims before fire and emergency medical personnel arrived.
He said it was not clear whether the individuals were related.
NBC News has reached out to the White House, the National Park Service and the Secret Service for comment.
Shortly before officials responded to the incident, the National Weather Service was issued A “severe thunderstorm warning” has warned that possible hail and gusts of 60 mph could affect Washington, D.C.
Lafayette Square is to the north of the White House and 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 Violently cleared by federal police officers in June 2020.