Body Found in Randolph Hills Explosion Identified as Home’s Resident

State medical examiner’s office says Steven Martin Beck committed suicide by shooting himself


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Officials stand on the road next to the site of the exploded home Friday.

Joe Zimmermann

The body found Saturday in the rubble of a Randolph Hills home leveled by an explosion has been identified as the homeowner, according to Montgomery County police.

The state’s Office of the Chief Medical Examiner determined Steven Martin Beck, the 61-year-old owner of 11422 Ashley Drive, Rockville, committed suicide by shooting himself, according to a press release issued Monday by Montgomery County police.

A dog was found close to Beck and a necropsy determined the dog also died from a gunshot wound, according to police.

The home had been leveled by an explosion that occurred before 1 a.m. Friday. It took 75 firefighters about 90 minutes to extinguish a blaze caused by the explosion. The blast shot debris as far as 600 yards from the house and damaged nine cars and 10 other houses, rendering one uninhabitable, according to county fire officials. No others were injured by the explosion.

Fire investigators found the body of an adult and the remains of an animal in the basement of the structure Saturday. The body was transported to medical examiners in Baltimore for an autopsy.

Montgomery County Fire & Rescue Service Chief Scott Goldstein said Saturday officials still have not determined the cause of the explosion, or whether it was intentional or accidental. Goldstein initially told reporters Friday morning the blast was not believed to be a gas explosion, but officials later backtracked and said they were not ruling out any potential causes.

Gas had been shut off to the house in 2015, but an investigation revealed there was unauthorized gas use at the address since December 2016.

Karen Burkett, a real estate agent with Re/Max, told Bethesda Beat on Friday morning that the house was scheduled to be sold at 3:30 p.m. Friday at a public auction at the courthouse in Rockville.

County police, MCFRS fire marshals, state fire marshals and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives are continuing the investigation to determine the circumstances that led to the suicide and explosion, according to police.

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