Arlington man whose house exploded had history of rambling lawsuits

Before an explosion leveled James W. Yoo’s two-story duplex in Arlington County, Va., during a police standoff Monday night — before the dwelling erupted in a gargantuan fireball, apparently with Yoo inside — the 56-year-old homeowner had gone through a contentious divorce, had a history of alcohol abuse and filing rambling lawsuits, and had repeatedly complained to the FBI, to no avail, that he was a fraud victim, according to authorities and court records.

Yoo, who described himself in some of his many court cases as a former security specialist for telecommunications companies, was rarely seen around his neighborhood in the county’s Bluemont area, residents said. Then, late Monday afternoon, someone began firing projectiles from “a flare-type gun” in the 800 block of North Burlington Street, police said. When officers arrived at Yoo’s home about 5 p.m., they were met with gunfire, and a barricade situation ensued.

Shortly before 8:30 p.m., an enormous blast from inside the home, heard for miles around, reduced the place to splinters and rained debris all over the block. Police said a person’s remains later found in the rubble are presumed to be Yoo’s. They said no one else was seriously hurt and that the cause of the explosion has not been determined.

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