LONGMEADOW, Mass. (WWLP) – An East Longmeadow man is charged with the attempted arson of Ruth’s House assisted living facility in Longmeadow. Ruth’s House is run by the Jewish Geriatric Services Lifecare (JGS) system.
Longmeadow Police said they investigated the incident as a hate crime.
Federal agents arrested an East Longmeadow man in connection with an explosive device found outside Ruth’s House assisted living in Longmeadow. Longmeadow police said John Rathbun made an explosive out of a small gasoline container that was found outside the facility on April 2nd.
“This is really a horrific hate crime. There’s no other way to describe it. It really strikes at the heart of what our american community is all about which is tolerance, free exercise of religion,” Massachusetts Senator, Eric Lesser told 22News.
According to the FBI complaint, agents found a white supremacist organization on the internet where users had planned to target the Jewish nursing home.But they have not explicitly connected Rathbun to the organization.
The Police and FBI were able to identify Rathbun by using DNA that they found at the site on the failed explosive. The anti-defamation league and the governor’s hate crimes tasks force has documented an increase in hate crimes in recent years.
“We need more education. People need to understand that prejudice and bigotry is something that’s always been part of our society but is something that we all have an obligation to fight,” Lesser continued.
The senator is calling on the federal and state government to provide more security in Longmeadow amid the crime. Federal prosecutors said Rathbun is a known drug user and has a criminal history of breaking and entering.