Man who set himself on fire near White House dies

A witness, Alina Berzins, 17, was visiting the White House with her family when she saw a man running and covered in flames.
Image: Arnav Gupta
Arnav Gupta is seen engulfed in flames after he set himself on fire on the Ellipse near the White House on May 29, 2019.Krisjan Berzins via Reuters

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By Ben Kesslen

A man who set himself on fire near the White House has died, according to the United States Park Police.

The Secret Service and Park Police responded to a report of a man on fire on Wednesday. Officers extinguished the blaze, and police later identified the man as Arnav Gupta, 33, of Bethesda, Maryland.

Gupta was taken to a local hospital, where he died Wednesday evening.

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Gupta, 33, had been reported missing earlier Wednesday by Montgomery County Police in Maryland.

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He was last seen by family when he left his home Wednesday morning, a police press release said. "Police are concerned for Gupta’s physical and emotional welfare," the release said.

A witness to Wednesday's incident, Alina Berzins, 17, was visiting the White House with her family when she saw a man running and covered in flames.

"We were just looking at the White House to take pictures and he just came out of nowhere," she told NBC News in a phone interview Wednesday, adding that authorities responded quickly to the incident.

Last month, a similar event occurred, when a man set himself on fire outside the White House. That incident in April was not life-threatening.

Motivations behind Gupta’s actions remain unknown, and the investigation is being handled by the Metropolitan Police.