A couple in their 70s died and two other people were critically injured after lightning struck in a park near the White House during a storm Thursday evening, authorities said.
The lightning struck just before 7 p.m. in Lafayette Park across the street from the White House, according to the D.C. Fire and Emergency Medical Services Department.
James Mueller, 76, and Donna Mueller, 75, both from Janesville, Wisconsin, died from their injuries, Brianna Burch, spokesperson for the D.C. Metropolitan Police Department, told USA TODAY. The two other victims, a man and a woman, remain in critical condition, she said.
“We are saddened by the tragic loss of life after the lightning strike in Lafayette Park,” White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said in a statement. “Our hearts are with the families who lost loved ones, and we are praying for those still fighting for their lives.”
All four were transported to hospitals with “critical life-threatening injuries,” D.C. Fire and EMS said in a tweet Thursday.
Spokesperson Vito Maggiolo said tThe lightning strike 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 area were under a severe thunderstorm warning Thursday evening, according to the National Weather Service.
Contributing: Jeanine Santucci, USA TODAY