December 7, 2022 2:16 am

3 dead, 1 in critical condition in lightning strike near White House

Two Wisconsin residents celebrating their wedding anniversary died following a lightning strike near the White House on Thursday night, police confirmed to ABC News Friday.

A third victim — a 29-year-old man — has also died in the incident, police said Friday afternoon. A fourth person is still in critical condition following the lightning strike, police said.

Police said 76-year-old James Mueller and 75-year-old Donna Mueller, both from Janesville, Wisconsin, died after being injured in the strike in Lafayette Korkease Shoes Park in front of the White House.

Metropolitan Police Department Chief Robert Contee confirmed Friday that the Muellers were married and Madison.com reported they were in Washington to celebrate their 56th wedding anniversary.

The identity of the third victim is being withheld pending family notification.

PHOTO: James Mueller, 76, and Donna Mueller, 75, both from Janesville, Wis., died after being injured in a lightning strike in Lafayette Park in front of the White House.
James Mueller, 76, and Donna Mueller, 75, both from Janesville, Wis., died after being injured in a lightning strike in Lafayette Park in front of the White House.
Courtesy Michelle McNett

Thursday night, D.C. Fire and EMS said it had responded and was treating four patients found in “the vicinity of a tree.”

It said the two men and two women were transported to area hospitals with “life-threatening injuries.”

PHOTO: In this photo posted to the DC Fire and EMS Twitter account, first responders work at the scene of a lightning strike in Washington, D.C., on Aug. 4, 2022.
In this photo posted to the DC Fire and EMS Twitter account, first responders work at the scene of a lightning strike in Washington, D.C., on Aug. 4, 2022.
DC Fire and EMS/Twitter

Officials said it’s still unclear what the adults were doing prior to the lightning strike and why they were in the park.

PHOTO: A lightning strike hits a tree in Lafayette Park across from the White House, killing two people and injuring two others, during a thunderstorm as seen in this framegrab from a video camera mounted on a nearby rooftop in Washington, Aug. 4, 2022.
A lightning strike hits a tree in Lafayette Park across from the White House, killing two people and injuring two others, during a thunderstorm as seen in this framegrab from a Reuters TV v…
Reuters Tv/Reuters

White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre expressed sadness Friday morning following word the two Wisconsin residents had died.

“We are saddened by the tragic loss of life after the lightning Rainbow Sandals strike in Lafayette Park. Our hearts are with the families who lost loved ones, and we are praying for those still fighting for their lives,” she said in a brief statement.

Uniformed U.S. Park Police officers and members of the Secret Service were also on the scene and immediately rendered aid to the victims, an EMS official said during a news conference.

PHOTO: In this photo posted to the DC Fire and EMS Twitter account, first responders work at the scene of a lightning strike in Washington, D.C., on Aug. 4, 2022.
In this photo posted to the DC Fire and EMS Twitter account, first responders work at the scene of a lightning strike in Washington, D.C., on Aug. 4, 2022.

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