2 dead, 2 in critical condition after lightning strike near White House

Two Wisconsin residents died in a lightning strike near the White House Thursday night, police confirmed to ABC News on Friday.

Police say James Mueller, 76, and Donna Mueller, 75, both of Janesville, Wisconsin, died after being injured during the Lafayette Park strike outside the White House.

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

As of Thursday evening, DC Fire and EMS said they had responded to and were treating four patients found “near a tree.”

He said the two men and two women had been taken to area hospitals with “life-threatening injuries”.

Officials said it is still unclear what the adults were doing before the strike and why they were in the park.

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

DC Fire and EMS/Twitter

White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre expressed her sadness on Friday morning after news of the deaths of the two Wisconsin residents was announced.

“We are saddened by the tragic loss of life after the lightning strike in Lafayette Park. Our hearts go out to the families who have lost loved ones, and we pray for those who are 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 rescued the victims, an emergency medical services official said at 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, DC on August 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, DC on August 4, 2022.

DC Fire and EMS/Twitter

The National Weather Service had issued a severe thunderstorm warning for the region on Thursday evening.

ABC News’ Beatrice Peterson, Molly Nagle and Caleigh Bartash contributed to this report.

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