Elderly Jewish Man Dies After Allegedly Being Struck on the Head with Megaphone by Pro-Palestinian Protestor in Los Angeles

Paul Kessler
Paul Kessler died following an altercation with pro-Palestinian protestors in West Lake Village over the weekend. Twitter

A 69-year-old Jewish man died Monday after falling and striking his head following a confrontation the previous day during competing pro-Israel and pro-Palestinian demonstrations in suburban Los Angeles, authorities said.

Paul 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 had been made yet.

Kessler was Reportedly Struck in the Head by a Megaphone, Causing Him to Fall and Hit His Head

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. An autopsy conducted Monday determined Kessler died from a blunt force head injury and it was homicide, the department said.

The nature of the altercation remains under investigation but some reports indicate that before he fell, Kessler was struck in the head with a megaphone by an individual with the pro-Palestinian event.

Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles Issues Statement

The Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles released a statement:

"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. Our hearts are with the family of the victim. While we wait for more information from our law enforcement partners, we remind you that this is the fourth major antisemitic crime committed in Los Angeles this year alone. Violence against our people has no place in civilized society. We demand safety. We will not tolerate violence against our community. We will do everything in our power to prevent it."

Since the war between Israel and Hamas broke out last month protests have been held around the world. Hamas militants have been condemned for invading Israel and killing and kidnaping civilians while Israel has been accused of indiscriminate bombing that has killed many civilians in Gaza.