The Secret Service confirmed an incident where a man set himself on fire near the White House on Wednesday afternoon.
Several witnesses first reported the incident to social media showing a man later identified as 33-year-old Arnav Gupta walking around, completely consumed in flames. The man was reportedly wearing a fire protective suit, although it did not cover his hands or his head.
Shortly after the incident began, local law enforcement and Secret Service personnel rushed to the scene where they extinguished the man and hurried him to the hospital.
Daily Mail reports:
Video of the incident showed him walking calmly across the Ellipse near the Washington Mall, an area popular with tourists, with flames covering his body.
Several seconds later, U.S. Secret Service staff could be seen towards him with a fire extinguisher to put out the blaze.
It occurred less than a mile from the White House.
He managed to stand upright before officials got to him, amid reports that he was wearing a protective suit which would have given him some protection from the flames.
Gupta suffered burns on 85 percent of his body and there was a suspicious package on fire near him which was also extinguished, according to TMZ.
He was later transported to a nearby hospital with ‘life threatening’ injuries.
More than 70 officers flocked to the scene from multiple agencies. Several tourists and visitors were in the vicinity, but there were no other injuries reported.
As ABC News reports, the National Park Service said that the man later died to his injuries.
“At 12:22 p.m., 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,” a spokesperson for the National Park Service said via Daily Mail.
“USSS personnel extinguished the fire within seconds. The individual was transported to a local hospital for treatment,” the official continued. “The incident is under investigation. No additional information is available at this time.”
It is unclear if the man intended to send a political message.
Here’s more, from the report:
Montgomery County, Maryland, police issued an alert Wednesday that Gupta, 33, was missing and that they were concerned about his “physical and emotional welfare.” He had last been seen at his home that morning at about 9:20 a.m.
A D.C. Fire EMS spokesman told ABC News a burn victim had been transported to an area hospital as law enforcement continued to investigate the incident.
A U.S. Park Police statement hours after the incident said the man had “life-threatening injuries.” It also said one uniformed U.S. Secret Service officer was transported because of smoke inhalation.