A man set himself on fire near the President’s home and the terrifying moment was captured on camera by shocked passersby. The Secret Service has confirmed exactly what happened.
UPDATE 5/30/19, 2:08pm EST: The man who set himself on fire near the White House on May 29 has been identified and has, tragically, died. “The Bethesda MD man identified as Arnav Gupta, died of his injuries later that evening,” the United States Park Police announced in a press release. “In accordance with policy, the investigation has been turned over to the Metropolitan Police Department.”
ORIGINAL: A man lit himself on fire near the White House and was seen running in a ball of flames in dramatic video footage that was captured by numerous members of the public. On May 29, the Secret Service confirmed the incident, giving details about what happened to the man, who has yet to be identified.
“At approximately 12:20 p.m. a man lit himself on fire on the Ellipse near 15th and Constitution Ave.,” a Secret Service tweet read. “Secret Service personnel are on scene assisting @NatlParkService and @usparkpolicepio in rendering first aid.” The Ellipse is a park that is south of the White House fence.
In one video posted on Twitter, the man is seen running across grass, as shocked passersby look on. “Somebody lit himself on fire at the Washington monument #WashingtonDC,” one person tweeted. Another person, Krisjan Berzins, shared an eyewitness report on Twitter, writing, “According to my daughter…she just saw a person that was on fire running across the White House lawn. Police and rescue have responded. They’re closing all surrounding streets right now. Video to follow…”
At approximately 12:20 p.m. a man lit himself on fire on the Ellipse near 15th and Constitution Ave., Secret Service personnel are on scene assisting @NatlParkService and @usparkpolicepio in rendering first aid.
— U.S. Secret Service (@SecretService) May 29, 2019
Video of the man who set himself on fire today outside the White Housepic.twitter.com/AHRXMDvxhd
— Ryan Saavedra (@RealSaavedra) May 29, 2019
Yet another person shared an emotional account in a since deleted tweet. Posting a video of the flames being extinguished, the person wrote, “The saddest thing I’ve ever seen. A person set themselves on fire in the park at the south lawn of the Whitehouse [sic]. Please pray for their soul.”
The man – who was rushed to the hospital – has “life-threatening injuries,” a Washington, D.C. fire department spokesperson told HollywoodLife. “We received a call regarding the incident at the White House Ellipse with a priority 1 or critical life-threatening injuries,” the rep said. “We received the call around 12:24 p.m. and arrived about five minutes later, and discovered that the fire had been extinguished by another law enforcement agency. At which point we provided some amount of care to the patient prior to getting him to the hospital.”
The spokesperson added, “There was initially what we thought to be a suspicious package near the patient, but that was false and nothing suspicious was found. He was subsequently taken to the hospital.”