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Man Who Set Himself on Fire outside White House Dies

WASHINGTON – The man who set himself on fire in a Washington park just outside the fence surrounding the White House succumbed to his injuries, the US Park Police said on Thursday.

Authorities identified the man as Arnav Gupta, a 33-year-old resident of Bethesda, Maryland, a suburb of the US capital.

The incident occurred Wednesday about 12:20 pm in the Ellipse, a park south of the White House and north of Constitution Avenue, near the Washington Monument.

“Secret Service agents responded in seconds, put out the fire and began to administer first aid,” a spokesman for the agency, Jeffrey Adams, told EFE on Wednesday.

The then-unidentified man was taken to a nearby hospital for treatment of his burns, according to the Secret Service, the agency responsible for the security of the president and his family.

The man died of his injuries late Wednesday, the US Park Police said.

Gupta’s family contacted police on Wednesday to report him missing.

Detectives in Maryland’s Montgomery County issued a statement seeking help from the public in locating Gupta, whose relatives said they last saw him around 9:20 am Wednesday.

Authorities eventually determined that Gupta was the man who set himself ablaze.

In their request for assistance from the public, Montgomery County police said they were “concerned for Gupta’s physical and emotional welfare.”

The Park Police said they turned the investigation over to Washington Metropolitan Police Department.

Secret Service agents intervened on April 12 after a man in wheelchair set fire to his jacket near one of the entrances to the White House.

“A male subject operating an electronic wheelchair-type scooter lit his outer jacket on fire while sitting along Pennsylvania Ave. outside the North Fence Line,” the Secret Service said at the time on Twitter. “Uniformed Division Officers immediately responded, extinguished the fire and rendered first aid.”

While President Donald Trump was inside the White House at the time of the incident, he was never in any danger, authorities said.

A man fatally shot himself outside the White House in March 2018.

Trump and first lady Melania Trump were en route to the president’s Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida on that occasion.

The shooting came about a week after woman apparently suffering from mental disorders crashed her vehicle into one of the security barricades that protect the presidential residence just minutes after the end of a joint press conference by Trump and the prime minister of Australia.

Two similar incidents took place in March 2017.

On March 10, a man identified as Jonathan T. Tran climbed over the White House fence carrying pepper spray and moved around in the gardens and yard for almost 17 minutes before being arrested.

Eighteen days later, the Secret Service arrested a man carrying a package and making suspicious remarks near the White House.


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