Two people were killed and two others were seriously injured in a lightning strike near the White House in Washington on Thursday evening, local police confirmed to AFP on Friday.
“Two people were reported dead after being struck by lightning in Lafayette Square,” police said, just meters from the gates of the White House.
They were the officers, James Mueller, 76, and Donna Mueller, 75, a couple from rural Wisconsin.
Two other victims are in critical condition, police said.
White House spokeswoman Karine Jean-Pierre expressed her condolences to the families of the dead in a statement Friday and offered “her prayers for those still fighting for their lives.”
A public park adjacent to the US President’s residence was struck by lightning minutes before 7pm on Thursday.
Photos released by firefighters showed dozens of rescue vehicles in a tree-lined square as the storm continued to pound Washington.
According to data from US health authorities, the probability of being struck by lightning is 1 in 1 million.
“When lightning strikes, take shelter in a safe place. Trees, of course, are not safe places,” Washington Fire Department spokesman Vito Maggiolo told local media.