A duplex home in the Washington, D.C. suburb of Arlington, Virginia exploded on Monday night as police were attempting to execute a search warrant on a suspect who is believed to be a man named James Yoo.
The suspect was allegedly still inside the building when it exploded. People from neighboring properties were evacuated according to law enforcement.
The suspect had fired off a flare gun “30 to 40 times” inside the home into the surrounding neighborhood earlier in the day, according to an Arlington County Police Department (ACPD) spokesperson. The local police had arrived at the home around 5:00 PM following phone calls from concerned neighbors who reported hearing gunshots. The home is located in the 800 block of N. Burlington Street, a 15-minute drive to the White House. No property had been damaged and no one was injured by the flares according to the police.
It was due to the flare firing that the police requested and obtained a search warrant to investigate the suspect’s home. Officers in multiple police vehicles (as is evidenced from the video) then arrived at the home and first attempted to make contact with the suspect through a loudspeaker and phone calls. The suspect was non-responsive and kept the entrances to his home barricaded.
While the police attempted to enter the home, the suspect reportedly fired off several “warning shots” within the house from what is believed to have been a firearm. A witness claimed that the law enforcement officers drove a SWAT through the front door “with a piledriving arm”, at which point the suspect fired back with a high-caliber weapon. The witness further claimed the officers fired weapons which they repeatedly announced were non-lethal at the house.
Witness to Arlington house explosion says suspect fired a "high caliber" weapon ("like an AR") at police before the explosion. pic.twitter.com/47GgimPzM2
— Citizen Free Press (@CitizenFreePres) December 5, 2023
After this, the police began trying to enter the house through the windows. Then, at 8:25 PM, the house exploded from a high-powered detonation that caused multiple car alarms on the street to go off.
The Arlington County Fire Department arrived to put out the fires from the blast, the flames from which were reportedly under control by 10:30 PM as firefighters continued to stamp out spot fires. Three officers sustained minor injuries, but no one was hospitalized according to the City of Arlington.
According to the ACPD spokesperson, the suspect was inside the home when it exploded, and it is currently unknown if others were in the home as well. As of Dec. 5, the suspect had been presumed dead by authorities according to D.C. media outlet WTOP News, which also reported that police found human remains around the premises of the home. However, a YouTube channel that appears to belong to Yoo was still posting comments as of 5:30 PM Tuesday, Dec. 5 (fact checkers claim this account was fake; see more below).
Reports quickly came out claiming the owner of the property was a 56-year-old man of Chinese descent named James Yoo.
Local media outlet Arlington Now interviewed the neighbor who recorded the video of the explosion. He said Yoo was a “recluse” who covered his windows with aluminum foil. Arlington Now also reported that when Yoo’s home was listed as for sale a few years ago, Yoo chased interested buyers off his property with a knife. His home was taken off the market in 2021.
On his LinkedIn profile, Yoo reportedly claimed he was “Former Head of Information and Physical Security for international telecommunication company.”
Yoo’s social media posts reportedly included quotes from Noam Chomsky, rants about White people, criticism of the United States, and insults directed toward his ex-wife. On a post from Dec. 1, Yoo claimed his neighbors were spies and wrote, “This is how White people operate and have the luxury of outnumbering all other ‘races’ by almost 7 to 1 in ‘Merica.”
His LinkedIn profile is also said to have had the following posted to it:
“James’ YouTube Channel UCCZA8Pe1U5fDqdbqJX_eZTA … ‘U.S. is the world’s biggest TERRORIST’ (N.Chomsky, ~2015) … ‘F*ck tha Police’ (Ice Cube w/ NWA) … #PURGE_THEM … Former Head Global Security w/ CFIUS experience.”
As well as:
Over a decade of technology related experience including product development, project and program management, proven leadership, and precedent setting foresight and drive.
Over 18 years of property management experience as private landlord.
Experienced functional / department head seeks to contribute with a broad background and skill set including direct involvement with the CFIUS (Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States) national security review process where I successfully led and managed Global Crossing’s (GC) technical and security team throughout the CFIUS process resulting in regulatory approval from the United States Government for Singapore Technologies Telemedia’s purchase of GC on or around late September 2003.
Skilled in Technology Product Development and Project Management, Risk Management, Business Process Improvement, and Microsoft Office tools.
Strong proven professional with a broad background and Bachelor of Science – BS focused in Information Resource Management from George Mason University – School of Business.
Yoo had reportedly written on LinkedIn that he worked in the early 1990s for a company in Crystal City, Virgnia that supported “U.S. military contracts.” According to an FBI spokesperson, Yoo had communicated with the FBI previously via phone calls and tips, mainly involving Yoo’s allegations of acts of fraud against him.
On the day after the explosion, James Yoo’s LinkedIn page had been taken down.
Two YouTube shorts were uploaded to a YouTube channel named “James Yoo” that was created on Nov. 9, 2023 which has as its description, “#DefundFBI #DefundCIA #DefundNSA PURGE ALL ‘NOC’s! PURGE ALL SPIES!” A NOC is a Network Operations Center, a central tool which can monitor a communications system. Fact checkers later claimed that this account was fake, and that Yoo’s real account had been deleted after the explosion but is still accessible via Internet Archive.
Here is a brief selection of the long and rambling YouTube comments: