The nation in brief: Lightning kills 3 people near White House

Emergency medical crews are staged on Pennsylvania Avenue between the White House and Lafayette Park Thursday evening in Washington.
Emergency medical crews are staged on Pennsylvania Avenue between the White House and Lafayette Park Thursday evening in Washington. (AP/@dcfireems)

Lightning kills 3 people near White House

WASHINGTON -- A husband and wife from Wisconsin celebrating more than five decades of marriage were killed in a lightning strike outside the White House. Two other people remained hospitalized with life-threatening injuries. A third victim was pronounced dead Friday evening, and one other is hospitalized with life-threatening injuries.

James Mueller, 76, and Donna Mueller, 75, of Janesville, Wis., died of their injuries after the lightning strike in Lafayette Park, the Metropolitan Police Department said Friday.

A third victim, a 29-year-old adult male, was pronounced dead Friday. The fourth person, a woman, was in critical condition, the police department said. Their identities were not immediately released.

Authorities did not reveal how the people were injured, other than to say they were critically hurt in the lightning strike.

The couple had five children, 10 grandchildren and four great-grandchildren, their niece, Michelle McNett told the Wisconsin State Journal.

Donna Mueller was a retired teacher who worked at a local furniture store. Jim was a retired contractor who had a drywall business.

Officers with the Secret Service and the U.S. Park Police witnessed the lightning strike and ran over to render first aid, officials said. Emergency medical crews were called to the scene just before 7 p.m. and took all the victims to the hospital with "critical, life-threatening injures," Fire Department spokesman Vito Maggiolo said.

"We are saddened by the tragic loss of life after the lightning strike in Lafayette Park," White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said. "Our hearts are with the families who lost loved ones, and we are praying for those still fighting for their lives."

Nashville doctor wins close primary bid

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Jason Martin, a Nashville doctor critical of Republican Gov. Bill Lee’s hands-off approach to the covid-19 pandemic, won the Democratic nomination for governor Friday and will face Lee in November.

Martin, a first-time political candidate, defeated Memphis attorney and City Councilman JB Smiley Jr. by a thin margin, with advocate Carnita Atwater finishing a distant third. Both Smiley and Atwater would have been the state’s first Black gubernatorial nominee if either had won.

“We hear your message loud and clear. You’re upset that Bill Lee has failed you,” Martin said late Thursday, declaring victory before the race was called as he held a narrow lead.

“He stood on the sidelines while 27,000 of our fellow Tennesseans died during the last couple of years,” Martin added.

Lee was unopposed in his primary election Thursday as he looks to secure a second four-year term in a state that hasn’t elected a Democrat to statewide office since 2006. He trounced his Democratic opponent in 2018.

W. Virginian sentenced for Fauci threats

GREENBELT, Md. — A West Virginia man Thursday was sentenced to 37 months in prison and three years of supervised release for sending emails threatening Dr. Anthony Fauci and another federal health official for talking about the coronavirus and efforts to prevent its spread.

Using an anonymous email account based in Switzerland, Thomas Patrick Connally Jr. threatened to kill Fauci or members of his family, the U.S. Department of Justice said. One message said they would be “dragged into the street, beaten to death, and set on fire.” Another email said Fauci would be “hunted, captured, tortured and killed,” according to court records.

Fauci is President Joe Biden’s chief medical adviser and director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. Another target was Dr. Francis Collins, who was director of the National Institutes of Health when the threats were made.

“Everyone has the right to disagree, but you do not have the right to threaten a federal official’s life,” said Erek Barron, U.S. attorney for the District of Maryland.

Election denier wins Arizona GOP nod

PHOENIX — Kari Lake, a former news anchor who walked away from her journalism career and was embraced by Donald Trump and his staunch supporters, won the Republican primary for Arizona governor Thursday.

Lake’s victory was a blow to the GOP establishment that lined up behind lawyer and businesswoman Karrin Taylor Robson in an attempt to push their party past the chaotic Trump era.

“The voters of Arizona have spoken,” Robson said Thursday in a statement conceding to Lake. “I accept the results, I trust the process and the people who administer it.” Lake said she would not have certified President Joe Biden’s 2020 victory and put false claims of election fraud at the center of her campaign.

“Arizonans who have been forgotten by the establishment just delivered a political earthquake,” Lake said.

Republicans now enter the general election with a slate of nominees closely allied with Trump who deny that Biden was legitimately elected. Lake will face Democratic Secretary of State Katie Hobbs in November.

  photo  Kari Lake, Republican candidate for Arizona governor, speaks on Friday at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in Dallas. (AP/LM Otero)