A suspect has been arrested in the death of a Jewish protester who fell after a clash at dueling rallies in California
Louay Al-Naji, 50, was taken into custody Thursday morning and will be booked on a charge of manslaughter in connection with Kessler’s death, the Ventura County Sheriff’s Office said.
Kessler (69 years old) was present at a pro-Israel rally on November 5 in Thousand Oaks, California, when he got into a “physical altercation” with a pro-Palestinian demonstrator, according to the website. The Ventura County Sheriff’s Office said. He fell backwards and hit his head on the ground during the quarrel, and died the next day.
The survivor will be booked into the Ventura County Pretrial Detention Center and bail will be set at $1 million, the Sheriff’s Office said.
Despite the arrest, anyone with information about the incident should come forward and share the video if possible, officials said.
Officials investigating Paul Kessler’s death previously said:Conflicting statements“The number of witnesses made it difficult to piece together what happened.
A 50-year-old man, initially described by authorities as a suspect, called 911 for medical assistance, remained at the scene and was questioned by deputies. His name was not revealed during the investigation.
A search was conducted at the suspect’s Moorpark home on Nov. 6, the same day Kessler died, Freehof said.
An autopsy determined the cause of death to be blunt force trauma to the head and the manner of death to be homicide — which is defined as death at the hands of another person but does not indicate any wrongdoing.
“The manner of killing does not indicate that a crime was committed, and that is what the District Attorney’s Office determines,” said Chief Medical Examiner Dr. Christopher Young.
An autopsy showed injuries consistent with a fall, according to the coroner.
Kessler suffered injuries to the left side of his face, but “the fatal injury was due to impact to the back of the head as a result of Mr. Kessler falling and hitting his head on the ground,” Young said.
He added that injuries to the front of the face “may be consistent with a blow to the face.”
Investigators “were waiting to see evidence of what happened in this interaction, whether or not there was a blow to the face that caused the fall, or whether Mr. Kessler fell without that being the precipitating event,” Freehoff said last week.
Tensions were high in the United States and other countries as a result of the war between Israel and Hamas.
It has been more than a month since a surprise terror attack by Hamas that Israel says killed 1,400 people, with 240 still hostage in the Gaza Strip. Health officials there say more than 1.5 million people have been displaced in the impoverished Gaza Strip More than 11,000 people were killed In the Israeli bombing campaign.
While some in Israel were quick to label Kessler’s death an act of anti-Semitism, local officials called for patience, calm and a thorough investigation first.
“We are deeply saddened by this tragic and shocking loss,” the Council on American-Islamic Relations’ Greater Los Angeles office said in a statement Monday. “We join local Jewish leaders in calling on all individuals to refrain from jumping to conclusions, stirring up such a tragedy for political gain, or spreading rumors that could unnecessarily escalate tensions that are already at an all-time high.”
Kyle Jury, a former editor at Thousand Oaks Acorn, remembers Kessler on the X show as an “ardent Democrat” with a “sharp wit” who “loved a good takedown.”
He was also one of the newspaper’s “longest active letter writers,” Gorey said in an interview Tuesday. Kessler has written to editors consistently for more than 20 years on topics ranging from climate change to the Covid vaccine. for him Last contribution It was in September.
“He wasn’t afraid to let people know how he felt,” Jori said.
This is a developing story. . Please check back for updates