Man Who Set Himself on Fire Near White House Was Reportedly Hallucinating After Taking Drugs

By Zachary Stieber

A man who set himself on fire near the White House on May 29 and later died in a hospital was hallucinating after taking drugs, according to a report.

The man was identified as Arnav Gupta, 33, who had been reported missing by his family earlier Wednesday.

Law enforcement officials told TMZ that Gupta took synthetic marijuana K2 that had been laced with the highly potent PCP drug.

While marijuana has become legal across multiple states, K2 is banned in most of the country. It contains a slew of unregulated chemicals.

Police have identified the man who set himself on fire near the White House on May 29, 2019, as Arnav Gupta. He has reportedly died in hospital after sustaining burns to 85 percent of his body. (Montgomery County Police)

No other reports appeared to mention drugs as of yet.

The U.S. Park Police said that Gupta died of his injuries late Wednesday. Police and the U.S. Secret Service responded to a report about an adult male on fire at 12:25 p.m.

Gupta was rushed to the hospital but didn’t recover.

The Montgomery County Police Department in Maryland said on Wednesday that Gupta’s family reported him missing after he left his house in Bethesda at approximately 9:20 a.m. “Police are concerned for Gupta’s physical and emotional welfare,” the department stated.

Warning: graphic footage below

A spokesman for the Washington, D.C., fire department told CBS that officials were trying to figure out what kind of accelerant Gupta used.

Sgt. Eduardo Delgado, a spokesman for the Park Police, said that investigators are also looking into Gupta’s motive for setting himself on fire.

Twitter user Krisjan Berzins said that his daughter saw the self-immolation. “They’re closing all surrounding streets right now,” he wrote.

The person was reportedly running through the park before he set himself alight. Pictures and videos showed smoke and flames coming from the area. Berzins later shared footage his daughter captured that showed the person on fire near a tree. Another user shared footage showing the scene from another angle but later removed it from the internet.

The area where Gupta was is in the heart of Washington, near the White House and a number of other government buildings and tourist attractions.

The incident came as Washington Homeland Security warned people of high temperatures, saying its Heat Emergency Plan was activated on Wednesday as the heat index could rise as high as 95 degrees.

“Extreme heat, often referred to as a ‘heat wave,’ is an extended period of high temperature usually accompanied by high humidity. Extreme heat kills by pushing the human body beyond its limits. In extreme heat and high humidity, evaporation is slowed and the body must work extra hard to maintain a normal temperature. Older adults, young children, and those who are sick or overweight are more likely to be severely affected by extreme heat,” it stated.

“When authorities monitor extreme heat conditions the term ‘heat index’ is used. This index measures the effects of heat and humidity. When heat and humidity combine to reduce the amount of evaporation of sweat from the body, outdoor exercise becomes dangerous even for those in good shape,” it added.

“In the District, the Heat Emergency Plan is activated when the heat index reaches 95 degrees.”