Officials believe a suspect likely died in a house explosion while Arlington, Virginia police were carrying out a search warrant. This was announced in a Tuesday afternoon news briefing.
Arlington’s Police Chief, Andy Penn, named 56-year-old James Yoo as the suspect at the briefing. He mentioned that they think Yoo perished in the blast. They’ve found human remains and are now waiting for the medical examiner to confirm the identity, Penn explained.
Yoo, who lived in the exploded house, had minimal run-ins with the police there, with just a couple of small noise complaints, according to Penn. He also noted they’re looking into some troubling social media posts made by Yoo.
The police went to the house around 4:45 p.m. on Monday. This was after a tip about someone shooting a flare gun dozens of times from the house into the neighborhood. The Arlington County Police shared this in a Monday night statement. The police tried to reach the suspect by phone and loudspeakers, but he didn’t answer and stayed locked inside, they said.
Police officers, with a search warrant in hand, neared the house just before 8:25 p.m. Then, the suspect shot multiple times from inside, said Ashley Savage, a spokesperson for the Arlington County police. Right after that, the house exploded.
At first, it wasn’t sure if the shots were from the flare gun or another gun. But later on, the police said these shots likely came from a firearm. On Tuesday, Chief Penn confirmed the suspect did fire several gunshots.
Savage mentioned that the suspect was in the house when it blew up. The police didn’t think anyone else was in there since it was a duplex, but they couldn’t be completely sure, she added.
Three officers got slightly hurt, but they didn’t need to go to the hospital.
Right now, the police and firefighters aren’t sure what made the house explode.
You could see the damage from the explosion from a few blocks away.
Here is a video. pic.twitter.com/4Gn3JEIZAy
— Mark Raymond (@markraymond) December 5, 2023
Carla Rodriguez, who lives in South Arlington, shared with The Associated Press that she heard the blast from over 2 miles away. She said it sounded like a plane had blown up.
The Arlington County Fire Department reported that they got the fire under control around 10:30 p.m. They were still handling a few small fires then. By Tuesday afternoon, they had put out the fire completely, the fire officials stated.
Aaron Miller, the Director of Public Safety Communications and Emergency Management, said on Tuesday that ten other houses got hit by the explosion. He mentioned that the people living in those houses are getting help with places to stay if they need it, along with essentials like toiletries.
The ATF and FBI are both helping out with the investigation.