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A tragic natural occurrence on Thursday left three people dean and one injured after an apparent lightning strike just outside the White House. The strike occurred just before 7 p.m., in Lafayette Square, just north of the White House, in a grove of trees about 100 feet southeast of the statue of Andrew Jackson, fire department spokesman Vito Maggiolo said at a news briefing Thursday night.

Earlier Friday, it was reported that an elderly couple, identified as a 76-year-old man and 75-year-old woman visiting from Wisconsin, were killed.

Later, in a sad update, police revealed that a 29-year-old man has also died. His identity is being withheld pending notification of relatives, the Washington Post reported.

From WaPo reported on the Wisconsin couple:

Among those who died were Donna Mueller, 75, a retired teacher, and her husband, James Mueller, 76, who owned a drywall business for decades before retiring, according to one of their daughters-in-law, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to protect her privacy.

They were high school sweethearts before marrying and were in Washington as tourists, a vacation trip to mark their anniversary, the daughter-in-law said. She said they had no connection to the other people who were under the tree when the lightning hit.

The couple lived in Janesville, Wis., about 70 miles west of Milwaukee, and had five grown children, ten grandchildren and four great-grandchildren. “Both would do anything for their family and friends,” their relatives said in a statement.

Wa Po reported that The lightning was occurred during a severe thunderstorm. The National Weather Service had issued a severe thunderstorm warning for the time period, saying there was a threat of damaging wind gusts and quarter-size hail.

“Lightning tends to strike tall objects, experts warn that taking shelter under a tree during a thunderstorm is highly dangerous,” the Post reported. “When a tree is hit by the electrical charge, moisture and sap in the tree easily conducts the electricity, carrying it to the ground around the tree, according to a National Weather Service webpage on lightning science.”

“When lightning strikes a tree or other object, much of the energy travels outward from the strike in and along the ground surface,” the webpage says. “This is known as the ground current. Anyone outside near a lightning strike is potentially a victim of ground current.”

White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said in a statement: “We are saddened by the tragic loss of life after the lightning 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.”

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8 COMMENTS

  1. I hope they can put a tower in with a lightning rod so this doesn’t happen again. Beautiful couple. Rest In Peace you two.❤️🙏✝️

  2. This is why I watch the radar on my phone. You set up warnings on it too. Clouds can suddenly flare up out of nowhere. I’ve seen lightening catch a young pine on fire before it even rained and lightning rip the bark off a tree. Both were really close to my house.

  3. So very sad. A horrible way to die. Thoughts and prayers to them and their family and friends. Prayers and healing to the one in critical condition. 🙏🏼🙏🏼🙏🏼

    • Just thinking the exact same thought. May these people rest in peace. What a terrible tragedy. May God be with them and their family members.

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