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Suspect Identified in Arlington House Blast

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Members of the Arlington County Fire department looks towards the remains of a house explosion, in Arlington, Virginia, Dec. 5, 2023.
Members of the Arlington County Fire department looks towards the remains of a house explosion, in Arlington, Virginia, Dec. 5, 2023.

Arlington County Police on Tuesday identified the suspect in an explosion that razed a house Monday evening in the Washington, D.C., suburb of Arlington, Virginia.

James Yoo, 56, who police believe is the homeowner, is presumed to have been killed in the blast. The cause of the explosion has not yet been determined.

"Human remains have been located at the scene," Police Department chief Andy Penn told reporters Tuesday at a press conference. "The office of the chief medical examiner will work to positively identify the individual and cause and manner of death."

In the hourslong run-up to the explosion that was caught on amateur video Monday night, the suspect allegedly discharged a flare gun in his neighborhood dozens of times, police said.

By the time the blast occurred during a standoff around 8:30 p.m., scattering debris throughout the area, police had been on the scene for hours. Police had already obtained a search warrant and were attempting to talk to the suspect by loudspeaker and phone.

A home is seen exploding from a distance on Dec. 4, 2023, in the Bluemont neighborhood in Arlington County, Virginia, just outside the U.S. capital, Washington.
A home is seen exploding from a distance on Dec. 4, 2023, in the Bluemont neighborhood in Arlington County, Virginia, just outside the U.S. capital, Washington.

When authorities tried to enter the home, the suspect reportedly fired several shots their way. The duplex, located across the Potomac River from Washington, abruptly exploded in a blaze of smoke and rubble.

Three officers left the scene with minor injuries, but no one was hospitalized.

More than 3 kilometers away, Carla Rodriguez said she heard the explosion and came to the scene, but law enforcement kept spectators blocks away.

"I actually thought a plane exploded," Rodriguez said.

Bob Maynes, who lives in the area, said he thought the loud boom was the crash of a tree falling on his house.

"I was sitting in my living room watching television and the whole house shook," Maynes said. "It wasn't an earthquake kind of tremor but the whole house shook."

Local firefighters were able to control the fire around 10:30 p.m. but continued to manage smaller spot fires into the night, police said early Tuesday.

The Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives said its investigators were at the scene assisting local police.

Some information for this report was provided by The Associated Press.

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