East Longmeadow home searched by FBI as part of possible hate crime investigation

Hampden County

EAST LONGMEADOW, Mass. (WWLP)– FBI agents searched a home at 20 Lori Lane in East Longmeadow as part of an investigation of a possible hate crime.

22News obtained a criminal complaint that was filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts. The complaint charges that on or about April 2, 2020, 36-year-old John Michael Rathbun did transport and receive an explosive device, and attempted to damage and destroy property.

The property that Rathbun allegedly targeted was Ruth’s House, a Jewish sponsored assisted living residential facility for seniors of all faiths located in Longmeadow.

The FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force had been investigating, and discovered information involving a white supremacist organization on two social media sites targeting Ruth’s House.

The complaint says that on April 2, the Longmeadow Police Department discovered a homemade incendiary device placed at the entrance of Ruth’s House. The device was located within feet of a widely used pedestrian walkway along Converse Street.

The device consisted of a five-gallon plastic Scepter gas canister filled with liquid believed to be gasoline, with burnt paper (later identified as a Christian religious pamphlet) placed in the nozzle of the canister. A portion of the pamphlet was charred and appeared to have been lit on fire.

Blood stains found on the canister and pamphlet were tested and the Massachusetts State Police crime lab identified a male DNA profile. The results were run through the Consolidated DNA Index System (CODIS) FBI data base and found it matched the DNA profile of Rathbun.

On April 11, 2020 a search warrant was issued for his residence at 20 Lori Lane in East Longmeadow, including three vehicles that were registered to his mother.

On the morning of April 15, agents carried out the search warrant. They observed numerous cuts and wounds to Rathbun’s hands. Agents also found gas cans on the property. Rathbun was detained and initially denied placing any explosive device at the entrance to Ruth’s House.

22News will continue to follow this developing story. You can read the criminal complaint here:

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