Breaking News
More () »

'You will never think that simply standing outside would take your life' | 3 people dead, 1 critically injured after lightning strike near White House

The four victims were in Lafayette Park across from the White House when the lightning strike hit.

WASHINGTON — An elderly couple and a 29-year-old man have died, and one woman remains hospitalized in critical condition, following a lightning strike near the White House on Thursday, officials said. 

In a press conference Thursday night, authorities explained that just after 6:50 p.m. officials received a call about the lightning strike in Lafayette Park involving multiple people. 

U.S. Secret Service agents and U.S. Park Police officers were standing nearby when the lightning strike happened and was able to help the victims until first responders arrived.

According to a tweet from DC Fire and EMS, the four people were at the park outside the White House when the lightning strike happened. Witnesses tell WUSA9 that the four people were standing under a tree when the lightning strike hit. 

The four people were taken to a nearby hospital for treatment. 

DC Police told WUSA9 Friday morning a couple visiting from Janesville, Wisconsin died at the hospital. The couple was identified James Mueller, 76, and Donna Mueller, 75, of Janesville, Wisconsin. 

The couple from Wisconsin was visiting the District to celebrate their wedding anniversary. 

Police confirmed a third victim, identified as 29-year-old Brooks A. Lambertson, of Los Angeles, died Friday. The fourth victim remains in the hospital.

Brooks was a vice president at City National Bank, managing sponsorships for the company, and was in D.C. or business.

"Brooks was an incredible young man who will be remembered for his generosity, kindness and unwavering positivity. His sudden loss is devastating for all who knew him, and his family, friends and colleagues appreciate the thoughts and prayers that have poured in from around the country," a spokesperson at the bank said.

Credit: City National Bank

"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."

Officials advise the public to go indoors and seek shelter whenever there is lightning or thunder. 

"If it roars, go indoors," a DC Fire/EMS official said during the press conference

The National Park Service offers advice if you get caught outside in one of them:

  • Keep moving towards safe shelter. If you are caught out in the open, do not stop.
  • Stay away from isolated trees or other tall objects. You do not want to be the tallest object! If you are in a forest, stay within a lower group of trees.

  • Avoid open fields, hills, boulder fields, rocky outcrops, and ridge tops. Do not lie flat on the ground.

  • Avoid bodies of water and metal objects, which can conduct electricity.

  • Distance yourself from others in your group. Spread out so that at most only one person is likely to be hurt by lightning and the others can apply first aid.


WATCH NEXT: CRAZY lightning strike over Washington D.C.

WOW! Our cameras caught the lightning over D.C. Aug. 6, 2019, as big storms rolled through. Click here to watch and subscribe to the WUSA9 YouTube channel. 

WUSA9 is now on Roku and Amazon Fire TVs. Download the apps today for live newscasts and video on demand.

Download the WUSA9 app to get breaking news, weather and important stories at your fingertips.

Sign up for the Get Up DC newsletter: Your forecast. Your commute. Your news.

Sign up for the Capitol Breach email newsletter, delivering the latest breaking news and a roundup of the investigation into the Capitol Riots on January 6, 2021.

Before You Leave, Check This Out