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Police update public on ‘major’ house explosion in Arlington

Dec 05, 2023

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Federal agents are combing through an Arlington neighborhood as local police give more details about an explosion that occurred on Monday, Dec. 4. The blast, which leveled a duplex in a Washington, D.C., suburb, happened as police tried to serve a search warrant following an hours-long standoff.

In an initial report, law enforcement said no officers were seriously hurt in the blast, adding that three officers reported minor injuries.

During a press conference on Tuesday, Dec. 5, Arlington County Police Chief Andy Penn identified the suspect as 56-year-old James Yoo. He is believed to be dead, and human remains were found at the site of the house. No one else had any serious injuries.

Police do not have a motive, but they are investigating Yoo’s Facebook posts. He had no previous encounters with this police department other than a couple of noise complaints.

Officials credited the quick actions of first responders for saving lives and property.

According to police, neighbors reported hearing possible gunshots from inside the home earlier in the day. Police arrived on the scene around 4:25 p.m. local time and determined the suspect had shot a flare gun around 30 times from inside the home into the neighborhood.

A standoff ensued; police said the suspect fired several rounds from what they believe was a firearm. At approximately 8:25 p.m. local time, as officers tried to make contact with the suspect, the home exploded sending debris and shock throughout the neighborhood.

The Arlington Fire Department said that firefighters battled flames from the blast, getting them under control at around 10:40 p.m. Crews addressed several spot fires throughout the night.

The cause of the explosion was not released yet, and they said no timetable for the investigation has been set.

The shockwaves not only spread through the neighborhood, they spread on social media as well. Rep. Don Beyer, D-Va., who represents that district posted his concerns on social media.

“Monitoring the emergency response to a major explosion in the Bluemont neighborhood of Arlington tonight,” Beyer posted on X. “This is very, very scary, and my profound thanks go out to first responders working to secure the area and keep everyone safe.”

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[Lauren Taylor]

WE HAVE NEW DETAILS AFTER AN EXPLOSION IN A D-C SUBURB LEVELED A HOUSE–
AS POLICE TRIED TO SERVE A SEARCH WARRANT ON MONDAY NIGHT.
WITNESSES SAY THAT THE BLAST COULD BE FELT FOR MILES.

[Arlington County Police Chief Andy Penn]

“We believe that the resident of the home, James Yoo of Arlington, 56, of Arlington is the involved suspect//…the suspect was inside the residence at the time of the explosion and he is presumed at this point to be deceased… human remains have been located at the scene… and the office of the chief medical examiner… will work to positively identify the individual… and will determine the cause and manner of death…

[Lauren Taylor]

THE BLAST HAS TURNED THE ARLINGTON NEIGHBORHOOD INTO A CRIME SCENE SPANNING BLOCKS AS FEDERAL AGENTS COMBED THE AREA FOR EVIDENCE.

WITNESSES RELIVING DRAMA TOLD MEDIA OUTLETS ON MONDAY NIGHT THAT IT FELT LIKE AN EARTHQUAKE HIT THE NEIGHBORHOOD, OR THAT A PLANE CRASHED.

“I was laying in my bed and then just it felt like we got attacked. I got pushed forward, I mean my roomates and I ran out and we looked outside and the fire was just getting going, across, it was really scary.”

[Lauren Taylor]

THE BLAST IS THE RESULT OF AN HOURS-LONG STAND-OFF WITH POLICE, WHO GOT TO THE SCENE AROUND 4:25 PM LOCAL TIME.

ACCORDING TO POLICE, THE STANDOFF BEGAN WHEN NEIGHBORS REPORTED SOMEONE HAD SHOT A FLARE GUN DOZENS OF TIMES FROM INSIDE THEIR HOME INTO THE NEIGHBORHOOD.

HOURS LATER, AS POLICE TRIED TO MAKE CONTACT WITH THE SUSPECT, JAMES YOO, THE HOUSE EXPLODED…
POLICE SAY YOO HAD NO PRIOR INTERACTIONS WITH THEM PRIOR TO THE BLAST… OTHER THAN TWO CALLS FOR “LOUD NOISE” IN THE LAST COUPLE OF YEARS… BUT HIS SOCIAL MEDIA POSTS ARE BEING LOOKED AT AS PART OF THE INVESTIGATION…

[Police Chief Andy Penn]
“We are aware of concerning social media posts allegedly made by the suspect and these will be reviewed as part of the ongoing criminal investigation.”

[Lauren Taylor]

OTHER THAN THE SUSPECT, COUNTY OFFICIALS SAY NO ONE ELSE IS SERIOUSLY HURT.
THE CAUSE OF THE EXPLOSION IS STILL UNDER INVESTIGATION…
AND THE FIRE DEPARTMENT SAYS THERE IS NO TIMELINE FOR WHEN THE INVESTIGATION WILL BE COMPLETE…
MULTIPLE AGENCIES ARE ASSISTING– INCLUDING THE F-B-I…
AND BUREAU OF ALCOHOL, TOBACCO, FIREARMS AND EXPLOSIVES…
OFFICIALS CREDITED THE QUICK ACTION OF FIRST-RESPONDERS FOR PREVENTING ANY FURTHER INJURY TO PEOPLE NEARBY–
AND DAMAGE TO HOMES IN THE AREA…