At around 12:20 p.m. local time on Wednesday (1620 UTC) in the United States capital city Washington DC, Arnav Gupta, 33-year-old of Bethesda, Maryland, set himself on fire in a publicly accessible area called the Ellipse, between the south lawn of the White House and the Washington Monument. Gupta was transported to a local hospital and originally listed in critical condition, according to officials, with burns over reportedly 85% of his body. He died that night.
Emergency responders included the Secret Service and US Park Police. Responders drove their vehicles onto the Ellipse where an officer used a fire extinguisher to put out the flames. The Secret Service confirmed a single male was transported to a local hospital and the response took place within seconds.
On Wednesday morning Gupta’s family members filed a missing persons report, according to the Montgomery County Police Department.
Tourists captured pictures and video of the incident. Once the white extinguisher smoked cleared the man had collapsed. Surrounding areas were reportedly shut down. As of Thursday, no official statement had been made on the man’s motivation.
Gupta’s self-immolation follows another attempt in April where a wheelchair-using individual attempted to set his jacket on fire along the north lawn fence line.