Virginia Man Suspected Of Firing Gun At Cops Is Presumed Dead In House Explosion

Smoke and flames are seen from an exploding home in Arlington, Virginia, Dec. 4, 2023.
Smoke and flames are seen from an exploding home in Arlington, Virginia, Dec. 4, 2023.

Smoke and flames are seen from an exploding home in Arlington, Virginia, Dec. 4, 2023.

A Virginia man suspected of firing a gun at police officers before his home exploded Monday night is presumed dead.

Arlington County Police Chief Andy Penn identified James Yoo, 56, as the suspect in a duplex explosion that apparently killed Yoo and left other people with minor injuries.

“He is presumed at this point to be deceased,” Penn said during a Tuesday press conference. “Human remains have been located at the scene.” 

Police responded to the duplex on Monday after reports that Yoo “discharged a flare gun approximately 30-40 times from inside his residence into the surrounding neighborhood,” according to an Arlington County Police Department press release.

After police obtained a search warrant for Yoo’s residence and attempted multiple times to communicate with him, Yoo “discharged several rounds, from what is believed to be a firearm, inside the home,” police said.

At 8:25 p.m., a massive explosion went off in the duplex. Video posted to social media shows a massive fireball tearing through the building’s roof, spraying debris across the neighborhood.

Authorities said Tuesday they have not yet determined the cause of the explosion. An investigation is ongoing.

Penn said authorities are also investigating some “concerning social media posts allegedly made by the suspect.”

HuffPost reviewed a YouTube account that appeared to belong to Yoo. The account, which was taken down late on Tuesday, featured videos that showed email correspondences between Yoo and members of the Justice Department. Yoo’s messages were conspiratorial and unfocused, and expressed his belief that members of the media were secretly watching him.

During Tuesday’s press conference, Dave Sundberg, assistant director in charge of the FBI’s D.C. field office, confirmed that Yoo had been in touch with the FBI to lodge complaints.

“The individual had previously communicated with the FBI via phone calls, online tips, and letters over a number of years,” Sundberg said. “I would characterize these communications as primarily complaints about alleged frauds he believed were perpetrated against him. The information contained therein and the nature of those communications did not lead to opening any FBI investigations.”

Sundberg said the explosion was an “isolated incident” and there is no ongoing threat.