suspect arrested

Suspect arrested in death of Jewish man killed during Israel-Hamas war protests

Paul Kessler, 69, died after a physical confrontation with an anti-Israel protester

DAVID SWANSON/AFP via Getty Images

Ventura County Chief Medical Examinber Chris Young speaks during a press conference in Thousand Oaks, Calif., on November 7, 2023, about the death of Paul Kessler.

A pro-Palestinian college professor was arrested and charged with involuntary manslaughter on Thursday in connection with the death of a 69-year-old Jewish man at dueling pro-Israel and pro-Palestinian rallies in Los Angeles last week, the Ventura County Sheriff’s office announced. 

Officials named Loay Abdelfattah Alnaji, 50, as the suspect involved in Paul Kessler’s death. The two men reportedly got into an altercation at the Nov. 5 protests. Photos show Kessler waving an Israeli flag moments before the violence began. Medical examiners determined that Kessler was struck with a megaphone and fell backwards, hitting his head on the pavement and suffering a head wound. He died the next day.  

The examiners ruled Kessler’s death a homicide, with blunt force head injury as the cause. 

Alnaji was booked at the Ventura County Pretrial Detention Facility for involuntary manslaughter and his bail was set at $1,000,000, according to the sheriff’s office. 

The Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles said in a statement on Thursday that the “arrest shows that violence towards our Jewish community will not be tolerated.” 

“We are grateful for the swift work of the Ventura County Sheriff’s Department in response to the tragic death of Mr. Paul Kessler…We will continue to monitor the case to help ensure justice is served. Our heartfelt condolences continue to be with the family of Paul Kessler and may his memory forever be a blessing,” the statement continued. 

At the March for Israel rally in Washington, D.C. on Tuesday, Jonathan Oswaks, a resident of Thousand Oaks, Calif., told Jewish Insider that he witnessed the incident and was frustrated that an arrest hadn’t been made more than a week after Kessler’s death.

 “I’m here today to speak to some senators about the murder of my friend Paul Kessler, a Jewish man like myself,” Oswaks told JI on Tuesday.

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