A District of Columbia police spokesperson said the man on fire at the National Mall on Friday has died as a result of his injuries.
Horrified witnesses said an unidentified man doused in gasoline set himself on fire at the National Mall in Washington, D.C. Friday afternoon. One witness said another man, who appeared to accompany the scorched man, videotaped the incident.
The man set himself on fire near the National Gallery of Art, located in the middle of the National Mall, which remains closed due to the government shutdown.
A Washington, D.C. Metro Police spokesperson confirmed that police responded to a call of a man on fire at the National Mall at approximately 4:24 p.m. on Friday. Police said the man was conscious and breathing when he was airlifted to MedStar Washington Hospital Center nearby.
The man was so severely burned, he has not yet been identified. D.C. Metro Police are working to identify him through DNA analysis.
The National Mall attracks over 24 million visitors each year. The Vietnam and World War II veterans’ memorials as well as the Korean Memorial, the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial and the Washington Monument are all part of the National Mall.
Tourists and furloughed government employees are not allowed at the National Mall due to the first government shutdown in 17 years.
The National Mall, located in the heart of the Capitol's tourism was instructed to send all of the park police officers home during the shutdown.
In anticipation of the government shutdown, National Parks spokeswoman Carol Johnson told the Blaze on Monday that "the mall theoretically is legally closed." While it is illegal to walk across the entire National Mall during a shutdown, Johnson admitted it would be difficult, if not impossible, to enforce the law.
"Now, obviously people walking across it … there is nothing much we can do, but it is legally closed.”
As a result of the government shutdown, the United States Department of Homeland Security announced it would furlough more than 30,000 of its 230,000 employees. However, DHS said security guards seen as critical to the nation's safety and security, such as U.S. Customs and Border Patrol, and TSA airport security would report for duty.