Support the news

Man Accused Of Attempted Arson At Jewish Assisted Living Center In Longmeadow

An East Longmeadow man is accused of trying to blow up a Jewish assisted-living residence in Longmeadow.

John Michael Rathbun, 36, was arrested Wednesday and charged with two counts of attempted arson, the Massachusetts U.S. Attorney's office said.

Federal investigators say on April 2, Rathbun placed a five-gallon canister filled with gas outside Ruth's House, a Jewish-sponsored assisted living facility. Police found a burnt Christian religious pamphlet in the nozzle of the canister.

Ruth's House is near three Jewish temples, a Jewish private school and a Jewish Community Center.

Blood found on the canister handle was matched to Rathbun through DNA analysis, the U.S. Attorney's office said.

Investigators said the facility was identified as a target on social media platforms used by white supremacist organizations. In March, a user posted about locations for mass killings including, “that jew nursing home in longmeadow massachusetts.” Investigators said they believe the same poster, on another site, created an "event" on April 3 for murdering Jewish people with the address of Ruth's House.

Rathbun will make his first appearance in court via videoconference.

Support the news