Man, 33, dies after setting himself on fire outside the White House suffering 85 per cent burns

THE man who walked across the lawn outside the White House after setting himself alight has now died.

Emergency services found the human torch, who reportedly suffered 85 per cent burns to his body, in an area in Washington DC known as The Ellipse or President's Park.

When officers arrived the man, who has been named as Arnav Gupta, 33, from Bethesda, Maryland, was still standing upright amid reports he was wearing a protective suit – a claim which remains unconfirmed.

Gupta had been reported missing to Montgomery County, Maryland, police on Wednesday morning.

Police say family members last saw him around 9.20am when he left his home.

Disturbing pictures from the scene show him being blasted with fire extinguishers at around 12.20pm, local time, while he was lying on the lawn less than a mile from the White House.

The 52-acre park lies between the home of the US president and the Washington Monument.

The man was rushed to a nearby hospital while battling "life-threatening" injuries after suffering 85 per cent burns to his body and died in the evening, according to the US Park Police.

Secret Service officials said the agency had "responded in seconds" to the incident.

The investigation has been handed over to the Metropolitan Police Department.

US President Donald Trump was working in the Oval Office in The White House during the incident, officials confirmed.

Police found a suspicious burning package near the man which was also extinguished, reports TMZ.

HUMAN TORCH

An unnamed eyewitness said: ""Like a torch, his whole body was on fire.

"He was just walking like a zombie or something. Just straight, he wasn't running and screaming or anything. He was walking straight. Then they put the extinguisher on him and put his [fire] out and that's it."

Alina Berzins, 17, said she was visiting the National Mall with her two cousins when “we saw this man” on the Elipse and “he starts running, and then we saw him covered in flames.”

"Everybody was in shock. I was in shock.”

She said several dozen cops suddenly appeared on the scene and were joined by a helicopter and multiple fire engines.

Berzin’s dad posted a video his daughter took on Twitter, writing: “Video of the person that was literally engulfed in flames on the #WhiteHouse lawn. Unbelievable.”

The video shows a man in flames for several seconds before emergency services douse him with water, with the White House visible in the background.

A school bus is also seen pulling up on the road beside the park in the video although it is not known if children were on it and they witnessed the horror.

He starts running, and then we saw him covered in flames

Park Police and US Secret Service responded to the incident, put out the fire and began first aid on the stricken man before he was taken to hospital.

Jeffrey Adams, from the US Secret Service told The Sun: "Today at approximately 12.20 pm, a male individual lit himself on fire while on the Ellipse near 15th and Constitution Ave.

"Secret Service Uniformed Division Officers responded in seconds, extinguished the fire and began to administer first aid."

Sgt. Eduardo Delgado, of the Park Police, said cops still did not know the man's motive.

A spokesman for the Washington Fire Department told CNBC: “I can confirm that we’ve transported one patient with burns from the Ellipse and we’re now on the scene assisting law enforcement."

The incident happened soon after Special Counsel Robert Mueller made a public statement insisting it was “not an option” for his office to have charged Trump during his inquiry into Russian meddling in the 2016 election.

This is not the first time this year someone has set themselves on fire in the heart of American democracy.

On April 12, a man in an electric wheelchair-style scooter set himself ablaze near the same fence.

 

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