Man who set himself on fire near White House dies; Concerns raised over ’emotional welfare’

On Thursday, NBC News reported that 33-year-old Arnav Gupta, of Bethesda, Maryland, died after he set himself on fire near the White House on Wednesday.  Secret Service and others responded quickly and took him to a hospital, where he died Wednesday night.

On May 29, the Montgomery County Department of Police asked for the public’s assistance in locating the man, who had been reported as “missing.”  According to that report, he “was last seen by family when he left his Cindy Lane home at approximately 9:20 this morning (Wednesday, May 29).”

He was later seen near the White House as he set himself on fire in front of sightseers.

Police, the report said “are concerned for Gupta’s physical and emotional welfare.”

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NBC News added:

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.

NBC News said it’s still not known what motivated the man to set himself on fire.


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Joe Newby

A 10-year veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps, Joe ran for a city council position in Riverside, Calif., in 1991 and managed successful campaigns for the Idaho state legislature. Co-author of "Banned: How Facebook enables militant Islamic jihad," Joe wrote for from 2010 until it closed in 2016 and his work has been published at Newsbusters, Spokane Faith and Values and other sites. He now runs the Conservative Firing Line.

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