Incident Summary:

04/02/2020: An incendiary device was discovered and removed at Ruth's House (a Jewish nursing home) in Longmeadow, Massachusetts, United States. The assailant attempted to light the device by setting fire to a Christian religious pamphlet left in the nozzle of the canister, but the attempt failed. John Michael Rathbun was identified as the assailant through DNA evidence. Sources noted that Rathbun, who had a history of anti-Semitic and racist posts on the internet, including an April 2 online calendar event titled "N…..r killing day" and an April 3 event titled "Jew killing day." Authorities suspected that Rathbun was part of an unnamed white supremacist group that discussed using explosives to carry out mass casualty attacks against religious and racial minorities. An unidentified member of the group posted online in March 2020 that the group should target "that jew nursing home in Longmeadow Massachusetts" which authorities suspect was in reference to Ruth's House.



United States

North America

region/u.s. state:



Attack Information
Type of Attack (more) Armed Assault
Successful Attack? (more) No
Target Information (more)
Target Type: Religious Figures/Institutions
Name of Entity Ruth's House
Specific Description Nursing Home
Nationality of Target United States
Additional Information
Hostages No
Ransom No
Property Damage No
Weapon Information
Type Sub-type
Incendiary Gasoline or Alcohol
Weapon Details
A homemade incendiary device, consisting of a five-gallon gasoline canister and a lit pamphlet as a fuse, was used in the attack.
Additional Information
Suicide Attack?No
Part of Multiple Incident?No
Criterion 1 (more) Yes
Criterion 2 (more) Yes
Criterion 3 (more) Yes
Doubt Terrorism Proper (more) No
Perpetrator Group Information
Group Name Claimed Responsibility
White supremacists/nationalists (suspected) Yes (Confirmed: Unknown; Mode: Posted to website, blog, etc.)
Perpetrator Statistics
Number of Perpetrators 1
Number of Captured Perpetrators 1
Casualty Information
Total Number of Casualties 0 Fatalities / 0 Injured
Total Number of Fatalities 0
Number of U.S. Fatalities 0
Number of Perpetrator Fatalities 0
Total Number of Injured 0
Number of U.S. Injured 0
Number of Perpetrators Injured 0
"East Longmeadow man indicted for attempted arson at Jewish nursing home, charged again with lying to FBI," MassLive, October 16, 2020.
"Man accused of trying to bomb Jewish senior facility," The Washington Post, April 18, 2020.
"Massachusetts man tried to torch Jewish nursing home, feds say," CBS News, April 16, 2020.