Indian American who set himself on fire near White House struggled with mental health issues

A photo of Arnav Gupta posted on his website

Maryland resident Arnav Gupta, 33, was an artist.

A 33-year-old Indian American artist who died after setting himself on fire near the White House, on Wednesday, was struggling with mental health issues and was reportedly on drugs.

Even though Secret Service personnel rushed to the scene and extinguished the fire, Arnav Gupta succumbed to the injuries in the hospital.

He was filmed doused in flames near the Ellipse Park, very close to the White House.

According to TMZ, Gupta was high on a type of synthetic cannabis called K2, which is banned in the United States.

The website said Gupta was hallucinating and he did not respond to commands of the responding officers to roll over as they tried to extinguish the fire.

Gupta’s family had reported him missing on May 29, according to Montgomery County Police in Maryland. The police issued a press release earlier on Wednesday seeking information about his whereabouts.

There were also concerns about his safety even though details on why there were concerns about his well-being were yet not shared. According to the release, Gupta was last seen by his family at 9.20 am on Wednesday. He left the home and three hours later he had already lit himself up near the White House.

The sight of Gupta, lit up in flames, was a horrid image that stunned bystanders. A graphic video uploaded online showed him downed in flames struggling for his life.

On the evening of May 30, the Montgomery County Police issued another press release informing that Gupta had died of his injuries.

Gupta, who grew up Maryland, attended the Landon School, a private college preparatory school for boys in Bethesda, Maryland. He later attended the Boston University.

According to, Gupta

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