People are falling for what is likely a phony YouTube account purporting to belong to James Yoo, the suspect in a massive explosion that took out a house in Arlington on Monday night.
A dramatic video of the fiery blast went viral on Tuesday, sparking speculation about what might have cause it. According to authorities, police were called to the neighborhood at 4:45pm ET Monday in response to reports of shots fired, which investigators later said came from a flare gun being shot 30 to 40 times.
The YouTube account uploaded a video of the explosive conflagration with the title ‘Eliminated All Spies.’
“All my social media is being banned for no reason I wasn’t even home when that incident happened… you’ll all know the truth soon,” wrote the owner of the account, @JamesYoo_ in the comments of the video.
“I live in Cincinnati area now I don’t know why this is all being blamed on me,” he writes in another short
Arlington officials announced at a press conference on Tuesday that Yoo was in the house when the explosion happened and that he was presumed dead in the aftermath, reported Fox 5’s Washington, D.C. affiliate. They also said that human remains were discovered on the site but hadn’t been ID’d yet.
But people online who took the YouTube account at face value quickly starting spreading the idea that Yoo—who left a trail of loosely coherent social media posts documenting byzantine lawsuits he’d filed, disputes with neighbors who he claimed were spies, and calls to end a raft of intelligence agencies—was still alive.
“Apparently James Yoo, whose house was blown up, was not home at the time and is talking in the comments of his YouTube channel featuring this very video,” wrote @bigmadcrab. “2023’s ending got more exciting than expected. This shit is wild.
That YouTube channel has been “terminated due to multiple or severe violations of YouTube’s policy prohibiting content designed to harass, bully or threaten,” according to the landing page when your browser tries to access it.
It was up for several hours after Yoo was identified.
But people still want to believe in the conspiracy.
“The man who the police were raiding last night in Arlington, VA named James Yoo is currently Commenting on the video of his house exploding on YouTube,” wrote one user above a video of the new channel. “He is claiming he was not home, he is being set up, and the US Govt & DOD are behind it.”
While Yoo’s purported LinkedIn and YouTube channels have been taken down, his TikTok hasn’t, but as of Tuesday evening, he hasn’t posted anything on it since mid-November.