ARLINGTON, VA – The explosion that rocked an Arlington neighborhood on Monday night has been traced back to a local man known for his eccentric social media behavior and a series of groundless lawsuits. The blast occurred after police were alerted to someone firing flares from the house.
James Yoo, 56, is believed to have resided in the duplex that was seen exploding in a video. The police, during a press conference on Tuesday afternoon, confirmed his identity and announced the discovery of human remains at the site, suspected to be Yoo’s. An autopsy is currently in progress.
Yoo’s interactions with the police at the residence were previously limited to a few noise complaints. Although his LinkedIn profile is no longer active, some of his posts and silent videos showcasing court filings from his unsuccessful lawsuits were found on a YouTube page. The police acknowledged his unsettling social media activity during the press briefing.
Yoo’s posts often contained disparaging remarks about his ex-wife, anti-American sentiments, and quotes from Noam Chomsky. His profile description claimed he was a former head of information and physical security for an international telecommunications company.
According to Alex Wilson, a neighbor who captured the explosion on video, Yoo was a recluse who had covered his windows with aluminum foil. Yoo’s social media posts often included rants about his neighbors and claims of being targeted with “hateful messaging.”
In February of the previous year, Yoo tried to sue his ex-wife, the state of New York, and several others on charges including fraud and conspiracy to deprive him of civil rights. A federal judge dismissed his complaint two months later, deeming it “frivolous and confused.” This was one of many similar complaints that were also dismissed.
The explosion took place as law enforcement was nearing the house. The blast was so intense that it triggered car alarms in the neighborhood. Police initially responded to the house following reports of someone inside firing numerous rounds from a flare gun into the surrounding area.
Attempts to establish contact through phone calls and loudspeakers were unsuccessful. Three officers suffered minor injuries in the explosion, but none required hospitalization. The blast affected 10 households, and the neighbors in the adjoining unit were evacuated before the explosion.