John Michael Rathbun, a 36-year-old Massachusetts man, has been charged with trying to blow up a Jewish assisted-living center after a white supremacist website encouraged a “Jew killing day.”
Rathbun was charged with two counts of attempted arson in federal court in western Massachusetts after allegedly trying to ignite a five-gallon plastic gas canister outside Ruth’s House, an assisted-living facility in Longmeadow, Mass., on April 2. Federal prosecutors said Rathbun’s DNA matched bloodstains on the canister and on a partly-charred Christian religious pamphlet that was stuffed in a nozzle as a fuse.
Ruth’s House is open to older adults of all religious backgrounds, but serves kosher food and is located in an area with three temples, a Jewish private school, and a Jewish community center.
The assisted-living facility became a target after a white supremacist group used social media channels to encourage attacks on the center. Federal officials said it is unclear as of now whether Rathbun was a member of the white supremacist group, adding that authorities seized his computer and an investigation is ongoing. There have been multiple high-profile attacks against Jewish shops, institutions, and centers in recent years.
source: New York Times