The man who was killed during a pro-Israel and pro-Palestinian protest was Paul Kessler, a 69-year-old Jewish man who suffered head trauma and died as a result of an altercation in California. The Ventura County Sheriff’s Office stated that witnesses reported the incident as battery, and the death has been classified as a homicide. There is no suspect in custody, and it is unclear whether the incident was a hate crime.
The altercation took place during simultaneous demonstrations in Thousand Oaks and heightened emotions over the war between Israel and Hamas. The Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles identified Kessler as the victim and stated that it was the fourth antisemitic attack in the area this year.
Kessler was involved in a physical altercation between counter-protesters, and the sheriff’s office is conducting an ongoing investigation to determine the circumstances surrounding his death. According to the leader of the Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles, Kessler was struck on the head with a megaphone by a pro-Palestinian protester. Investigators have identified the individual responsible but have not made an arrest.
The incident has caused grief and shock, and civil rights groups have emphasized the need to refrain from jumping to conclusions or sensationalizing the tragedy for political gain. The Jewish and Muslim communities have expressed solidarity and rejected all forms of violence and hatred.