Janesville couple celebrating their wedding anniversary die in a lightning strike near the White House

Donna and Jim Mueller

A Janesville couple celebrating their 56th marriage ceremony anniversary with a visit to the nation’s capital had been killed Thursday evening in a lightning strike at Lafayette Park across from the White House, District of Columbia officers and a member of the family mentioned Friday.

The victims had been recognized as James Mueller, 76, and Donna Mueller, 75.

The Associated Press reported a third sufferer, a 29-year-old grownup man, was pronounced lifeless Friday. The fourth particular person, a girl, was in essential situation, the police division mentioned. Their identities weren’t instantly launched.

Emergency crews responded to Lafayette Park across from the White House on Thursday night. A couple from Janesville were killed  by the lightning strike.

Emergency crews responded to Lafayette Park throughout from the White House on Thursday evening. A pair from Janesville had been killed by the lightning strike.

“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.”

The lightning struck simply earlier than 7 p.m. Eastern time in Lafayette Park, which is throughout the road from the White House. Two males and two ladies had been transported to hospitals, all with “critical life threatening injuries,” D.C. Fire and EMS said in a tweet.

Spokesperson Vito Maggiolo mentioned the lightning strike was witnessed by members of the U.S. Secret Service and the U.S. Park Police, who instantly responded to the scene.

A marriage anniversary journey

The Muellers had been in Washington celebrating their 56th marriage ceremony anniversary, mentioned Michelle McNett, the couple’s niece.

“They were high school sweethearts,” McNett mentioned. “They had a whole itinerary (in Washington). They were supposed to be at Mount Vernon (George Washington’s estate) today.”

McNett mentioned the Muellers had been retired.

Jim Mueller had owned a drywall enterprise. “He was still working here and there, but he was basically retired,” McNett mentioned.

Donna was a retired trainer and was working part-time at a furnishings retailer in Janesville, McNett mentioned.

They had been each initially from Cuba City in southwest Wisconsin close to the Mississippi River the place the state borders Iowa and Illinois.

McNett mentioned the Muellers are a part of a close-knit household.

They have 5 youngsters, 10 grandchildren and 4 great-grandchildren.

“Donna loved to have family gatherings,” McNett mentioned. “They just had an engagement party a couple weeks ago for one of their sons who is getting married (next year).

“Both would do something for household or associates,” McNett added. “Jim would provide the shirt off his again.”

The couple loved to travel. “They liked to see their household,” McNett said.

McNett also remembered the Muellers as great dancers. “At marriage ceremony receptions, they’d get out (on the dance ground) and it was like, ‘wow,’” she mentioned.

McNett mentioned the household is in shock on the sudden passing of the couple.

“You don’t even know what to say,” she said. “Just prayers.”

Funeral arrangements are pending.

Lightning was spawned by severe thunderstorm

Washington, D.C., and surrounding areas were under a severe thunderstorm warning Thursday evening at the time lightning struck the park, according to the National Weather Service.

Last year, 11 people were killed by lightning in the U.S., according to the weather service.

Lafayette Park is a 7-acre park that was originally known as President’s Park. The land served as a construction staging area for the White House in 1800.

The park is a frequent site for political gatherings and protests.

Contact Steve Martinez at Follow him on Twitter at @stjmartinez.

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This article initially appeared on Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Lightning strike near White House kills Wisconsin couple in Washington

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