California police are appealing for videos and photos from the pro-Palestine protest that led to the death of a 69-year-old Jewish man on Sunday.
Paul Kessler, 69, died on Sunday after the protest in Thousand Oaks. Witnesses claimed he’d been hit in the head with a megaphone by a pro-Palestine protester.
At a press conference today, police said they could not confirm whether he’d been beaten as claimed, but confirmed the cause of his death was a fatal blow to the back of the head that happened when he fell to the ground.
It’s unclear whether Kessler was pushed, or how violent the altercation became.
His injuries included non-life-threatening blows to the side of the face in addition to brain swelling and hemorrhaging, and a skull fracture.
The 58-year-old suspect has not yet been named or arrested, but police say he is cooperating with their investigation.
Yesterday, he was taken into custody while police carried out a search warrant at his house in Moorpark. He was released after the search was completed.
A Palestinian supporter appears to be helping Kessler after he clashed with other protestors
A witness says that they saw Paul Kessler, 69, shown here, waving an Israeli flag before being accosted by a Pro-Palestine protester during the protest in Thousand Oaks on Sunday
In this photo from the scene, Kessler is shown being tended to by medical personnel while an unidentified man is interviewed by police. It’s unconfirmed if this is the suspect. He is shown pointing to a megaphone and Palestinian flag
He is among those who called 911 for help when Kessler fell and started to bleed.
The incident occurred at 3.22pm on Sunday. By 1.10am the following morning, Kessler had been pronounced dead in the hospital.
The Ventura County Medical Examiner’s Office ruled the death a homicide, with blunt force trauma as the cause, but emphasized today that the determination does not necessarily equate with a crime.
‘It is a medical, legal determination. ‘It simply states that the death occurred at the hands of another person… [but] homicide does not indicate that a crime has been committed.
‘That is a determination to be made by the DA’s office,’ Chief Medical Examiner Christopher Young said.
While officials gave their press conference, Kessler’s friends gathered at the location of the protest to pay their respects.
Ventura County Sheriff Jim Fryhoff speaks next to Ventura County Chief Medical Examiner Chris R. Young during the press conference on Tuesday
Mourners visit the site where Paul Kessler was killed during a duel Israel and Palestine rallies at the intersection of Thousand Oaks Boulevard and Westlake Road in Thousand Oaks, California
Avia Jacobs, of Westlake Village, cries Tuesday, Nov. 7, 2023, at the Shell gas station at the corner Thousand Oaks and Westlake boulevards where Paul Kessler was injured two days earlier
Mourners visit the site where Paul Kessler was killed during a duel Israel and Palestine rallies at the intersection of Thousand Oaks Boulevard and Westlake Road in Thousand Oaks, California on November 7, 2023
He had been photographed just minutes before his death proudly holding an Israeli flag.
He and his wife Cheryl attended the event to peacefully counter the Palestinian protesters there.
His injuries did nothing to stop those who had turned out in support of Palestine. Videos shows them continuing to chant anti-Israel remarks as Kessler was lifted into an ambulance and taken away.
Event organizers then took to social media to warn against ‘irresponsible assumptions’ being made online.
Witnesses told ABC Los Angeles that both sides had been antagonizing each other when it turned physical.
‘They were both on an even ground, and they were yelling at each other, and then the man brought his megaphone up and hit Paul, and Paul went down,’ one unnamed witness said.
A memorial of flowers and candles sits outside the Shell gas station in Thousand Oaks Tuesday morning. It was the site of a protest Sunday in which a Jewish man was injured and fell during an altercation. The man, Paul Kessler, died Monday.