Lightning Strike Injures 2 National Guard Members in DC


Two members of the South Carolina National Guard supporting law enforcement in Washington, D.C., were injured by lightning early Friday morning as storms swept across the region.

The two "were in close proximity of a lightning strike while on duty in D.C." to support federal law enforcement, the National Guard Bureau said in a statement. Protests have been a daily occurrence in the District since the May 25 death of George Floyd, an unarmed black man, at the hands of Minneapolis police.

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The two Guard members were taken to a local hospital, where they were listed in stable condition, the Bureau said, adding that they will remain there for at least 24 hours for observation.

Officials did not have immediate information on exactly where and when the two Guard members were injured, or indicate whether they were Army or Air National Guard. Their identities have not been disclosed.

However, the District's Fire Department, in a Twitter post, said that the two were injured shortly after midnight while on duty in the vicinity of Lafayette Square across from the White House. It described their injuries as "non-life threatening."

The two are part of a still-building force of National Guard troops, whose armored vehicles have been an increasing presence on the streets.

More than 1,600 members of the District of Columbia National Guard have been activated to assist in controlling the protests and guarding historic sites and landmarks.

The D.C. units have been bolstered by more than 4,000 National Guard members from other states, including South Carolina, Florida, Indiana, Maryland, Missouri, Mississippi, New Jersey, Ohio, South Carolina, Tennessee, Utah and Idaho, the Bureau said.

More than 1,600 active-duty troops also have been posted to bases on the outskirts of the District to be on call if needed.

On Thursday, the Defense Department said that several hundred members of the Army's famed 82nd Airborne Division who had been sent to bases outside D.C. would return to Fort Bragg, North Carolina.

-- Richard Sisk can be reached at

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