Thousand Oaks, California – A 69-year-old Jewish man tragically died on Monday after sustaining a head injury during an altercation with pro-Palestinian protesters. Paul Kessler was attending dueling demonstrations on Sunday when the incident occurred. The Ventura County Sheriff’s Office is currently investigating the death as a possible hate crime.
According to authorities, Kessler, a supporter of Israel, was involved in a scuffle with pro-Palestinian protesters around 3:20 p.m. The confrontation resulted in a head injury for Kessler, which ultimately led to his death. An autopsy conducted on Monday determined that Kessler’s cause of death was a blunt-force head injury, ruling it as a homicide.
Details surrounding the events leading up to the altercation remain unclear. The Los Angeles Times reported that Kessler was struck in the head before being knocked over, but the sheriff’s office did not confirm or deny this information.
The Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles stated that Kessler was hit with a megaphone during the incident, although authorities did not mention this assertion. Moshe Bryski, a local rabbi, described Kessler’s death as a tragedy and expressed shock over the incident.
No arrests have been made at this time, and Sheriff Jim Fryhoff is expected to provide further information during a press conference on Tuesday morning. Footage of the incident circulates on social media, showing a man lying on the ground with a head injury, while two individuals, one wearing a jacket supporting “Free Palestine,” come to his aid.
Kessler, a counter-protester at the pro-Palestinian demonstration, had attended a previous rally since the Hamas terror attack on Israel on October 7. Friends and family are mourning his sudden and tragic death, describing him as a proud Jew and Israel supporter.
The investigation into Kessler’s death is ongoing, with authorities seeking any witness footage that could shed light on the incident. Ventura County Supervisor Jeff Gorell expressed his heartbreak over the loss of life and called for peace in the community.
The circumstances surrounding the altercation and the tragic death of Paul Kessler highlight the tensions and divisions surrounding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. As the investigation continues, authorities are urging anyone with relevant information to come forward.