Watch CBS News

Suspect killed in house explosion as police in Arlington, Virginia, try to execute search warrant, officials say

Suspect in explosion may have shot at police
Suspect in Arlington, Virginia, house explosion may have shot at officers trying to serve warrant 07:38

A suspect is presumed dead after a house exploded as police in Arlington, Virginia, were attempting to execute a search warrant, authorities said at a news conference on Tuesday afternoon.

Arlington County Police Chief Andy Penn identified the suspect as James Yoo, 56, during the news conference, and said investigators believe he died in the explosion. Human remains have been found, and the medical examiner's office is currently working on identification, Penn said. 

Yoo lived in the home that exploded and had limited interactions with the police at the residence, except for two minor noise incidents, Penn said. Investigators are reviewing "concerning social media posts" by the suspect, Penn said. 

Police were sent to the home around 4:45 p.m. Monday after receiving a report about someone firing a flare gun 30 to 40 times from inside the house into the neighborhood, the Arlington County Police Department said in a statement Monday night. Police tried to contact the suspect by phone and with loudspeakers, but he didn't respond and stayed barricaded inside the home, police said.

After getting a search warrant, police officers approached the home shortly before 8:25 p.m. The suspect then "discharged several rounds" from inside the home, Arlington County police spokesperson Ashley Savage said, after which the blast occurred. 

It was not immediately clear if the rounds fired were from the flare gun or a different weapon, but police later said the rounds were fired "from what is believed to be a firearm" and Penn on Tuesday confirmed the suspect fired multiple gunshots.

The suspect was inside the house at the time of the explosion, Savage said. Police were not aware of anyone else inside the house, which was a duplex, but they could not rule out the possibility others had been inside, Savage said. 

Three officers suffered minor injuries, but none required hospitalization.

Police and fire officials could not immediately say what caused the explosion.

The aftermath of the blast could be seen from several blocks away.

Carla Rodriguez, a resident of South Arlington, told The Associated Press she heard the explosion from more than 2 miles away and said she "thought a plane exploded."  

The Arlington County Fire Department said the fire was under control as of roughly 10:30 p.m., but crews were still dealing with small spot fires. The fire was "completely extinguished" by Tuesday afternoon, fire officials said.

Workers look at a home that exploded in Arlington, Virginia, on December 4 and rocked a neighborhood with a powerful blast. STEFANI REYNOLDS/AFP via Getty Images

Ten other homes were affected by the explosion, Department of Public Safety Communications and Emergency Management Director Aaron Miller said Tuesday. The residents of those homes are being provided with housing, if needed, and other basic needs such as toiletries, Miller said.

The ATF and FBI were both assisting with the investigation. 

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.