A suspect has been arrested in the death of a Jewish protester who fell after a clash at dueling rallies in California
A suspect has been arrested in connection with the incident death saFirst Kessler, A Jewish protester Who fell after a confrontation at rival rallies in California for Israel and the Palestinians this month.
Officials said that Louay Al-Naji, 50, was arrested Thursday morning and charged with manslaughter and battery causing serious bodily injury.
Kessler, 69, was attending a pro-Israel rally on November 5 in Thousand Oaks 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 altercation and died the next day.
The survivor, of Moorpark, was being held Thursday night on $1 million bail, according to online records.
The Ventura County District Attorney’s Office said both charges he faces are felonies. Both charges have specific allegations that the survivor personally inflicted great bodily injury, which is a type of enhancement, she said.
A press conference with the district attorney and mayor is expected to be held Friday morning.
The California Penal Code defines manslaughter as when someone is killed by an unlawful act less serious than a felony or by a lawful act that may result in death unlawfully or without due caution.
Despite the arrest, anyone with information about the incident should come forward and share the video if possible, officials said.
Kessler’s wives and the survivor could not immediately be reached for comment Thursday.
Online court records did not list an attorney for the survivor Thursday afternoon.
The Ventura County Community College District, where the survivor worked as a computer science professor, said he would be placed on administrative leave effective immediately. She said she was in contact with law enforcement throughout the investigation.
Investigators previously said,Conflicting statements“The number of witnesses made it difficult to piece together what happened.
The suspect remained at the scene and called 911 for medical assistance, the Sheriff’s Office said last week, without providing his name.
Sheriff James Freihoff said last week that investigators are “waiting to see evidence of what happened in this interaction, and whether or not there was a blow to the face that caused the fall, or if Mr. Kessler fell without that being the precipitating event.” .
An autopsy determined Kessler’s cause of death to be blunt force trauma to the head and the manner of death to be homicide.
The fatal injury “was the result of impact to the back of the head as a result of Mr. Kessler falling and hitting his head on the ground,” Young said last week.
Kessler also suffered non-fatal injuries to the front of his face that could be consistent with a hit, Young said.
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 terrorist attack by Hamas in which Israel estimates killed 1,200 people, 239 of whom are still being held hostage in the Gaza Strip. Health officials there say more than 1.6 million people have been displaced in the impoverished Gaza Strip More than 11,000 people were killed In the Israeli bombing campaign.
While some — including Israeli politicians — were quick to label Kessler’s death an act of anti-Semitism, a local rabbi and the Los Angeles area office of the Council on American-Islamic Relations called for patience, calm, and a thorough investigation first.
“This arrest shows that violence toward our Jewish community will not be tolerated,” the Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles said Thursday. “We will continue to monitor the case to help ensure justice is served.”
This article was originally published on NBCNews.com