The man who set himself on fire outside the White House on Wednesday has died, according to police.
Shocking footage started circulating on social media yesterday (May 29), showing a man engulfed in flames as cars drove past.
Secret Service officials say they ‘responded in seconds’ to the incident after ‘the male individual lit himself on fire.’
US Park Police identified the man as Arnav Gupta from Bethesda in Maryland this morning.
They released a statement on Twitter which read:
On May 29, 2019 at 12.15pm officers from the United States Park POlice and United States Secret Service responded to a report of an adult male who reportedly lit himself on fire on the Ellipse near 15th and Constitution Avenue. The individual was extinguished and later transported to a local hospital for treatment.
The Bethesda MD man identified as Amav Gupta, died of his injuries later that evening. In accordance with policy, an investigation has been turned over to the Metropolitan Police Department.
It would appear Gupta was reported missing to Montgomery County, Maryland, on Wednesday morning. Family members say they last saw the 33-year-old at 9.20am. Police were said to be concerned for his physical and emotional welfare.
A witness described the horrific scenes to NBC Washington, comparing Gupta’s body to a torch:
Like a torch, his whole body was on fire. He was just walking like he was 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, witnessed the man set himself on fire as she was visiting the National Mall with two of her cousins.
The 17-year-old told CNBC:
We saw this man. He starts running, and then we saw him covered in flames. He started to walk [and then] cops started coming to the area and he collapsed. Everybody was in shock. I was in shock.
Our thoughts go out to Arnav’s friends and family at this difficult time.
Emma Rosemurgey is an NCTJ trained Journalist who started her career by producing The Royal Rosemurgey newspaper in 2004, which kept her family up to date with the goings on of her sleepy north east village. She graduated from the University of Central Lancashire in Preston and started her career in regional newspapers before joining Tyla (formerly Pretty 52) in 2017, and progressing onto UNILAD in 2019.