"A Jewish man succumbed to his wounds on Monday, a day after an altercation at a pro-Palestinian, anti-Israel protest in the Los Angeles area.
The 69-year-old man identified as Paul Kessler fell and hit his head following a confrontation during competing pro-Israel and pro-Palestinian demonstrations in suburban Los Angeles, authorities said.
Kessler’s death was being investigated as a homicide and authorities haven’t ruled out the possibility a hate crime occurred, said a statement from the Ventura County Sheriff’s Department. No arrests have been announced.
Kessler was injured shortly before 3:30 p.m. Sunday during competing demonstrations in Thousand Oaks, a city of about 125,000 northwest of Los Angeles. Police received reports that a battery had occurred and deputies sent to the scene found Kessler suffering from a head wound, the department said.
‘Witness accounts indicated that Kessler was involved in a physical altercation with counter-protestor(s). During the altercation, Kessler fell backwards and struck his head on the ground,’ the department said.
According to a statement by the Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles, the man was struck in the head with a megaphone held by one of the pro-Palestinian protesters in Westlake Village...
‘We are devastated to learn of the tragic death of an elderly Jewish man who was struck in the head by a megaphone wielded by a pro-Palestinian protestor in Westlake Village,’ the federation statement says. ‘Our hearts are with the family of the victim.’
The man’s death occurred a month into a war between Israel and Hamas in Gaza, which began after the terror group invaded Israel on Oct. 7, killing and wounding thousands, mostly civilians. Mass pro-Israel and pro-Palestinian demonstrations have occurred nationwide and globally, and officials have warned of rising antisemitism and islamophobia in the weeks since Oct. 7. While other physical altercations and assaults have taken place surrounding protests or the hanging of posters, this is the first death reported due to a protest connected to the war..."