THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. – A Jewish man who was counter-protesting a pro-Palestinian demonstration died on Monday, Nov. 6, after being struck in the head and falling during an altercation in California the day prior, Law Officer reported last week. The man who allegedly struck him was taken into custody on Thursday, according to law enforcement authorities.
The Ventura County Sheriff’s Office identified the victim as 69-year-old Paul Kessler and said he was struck in the head during the confrontation. The agency said Kessler succumbed to injuries sustained at dueling demonstrations on Sunday, Nov. 5, in Thousand Oaks. Kessler’s death was being investigated as a possible hate crime since he was supporting Israel when he became involved in a scuffle with pro-Palestinian protesters, the Los Angeles Times reported.
On Thursday, VCSO announced that Loay Abdelfattah Alnaji was arrested in connection with Kessler’s death. He was later booked at the Ventura County Pre-Trial Detention Facility on the charge of involuntary manslaughter. His bail was set at $1 million.
Kessler was struck in the head while waving an Israel flag on November 5 in a counter-protest of a pro-Palestinian demonstration that was underway. After receiving a blow to the head, he was seen lying on the sidewalk in a pool of blood, and was subsequently rushed to the hospital, the Los Angeles Times reported.
According to an autopsy conducted on Nov. 6, Kessler’s manner of death was categorized a homicide, and the cause of death was blunt force head injury, the sheriff’s office noted.
Moshe Bryski is a local rabbi from Chabad of Agoura Hills. He told the New York Post that Kessler’s death was “just a tragedy” as he confirmed the man was a counter-protester to a pro-Palestinian demonstration.
Bryski said Kessler’s wife was “in a state of total shock” when he called her the day after her husband succumbed to his injuries and died.
“You don’t expect people to go to a rally and not come home,” Bryski said.
Alnaji is a Muslim computer science professor who teaches at California State University Northridge as well as Moorpark College, according to the Post Millennial.
Images via the Post Millennial
Alnaji has publicly vocalized support for Hamas terrorists and is involved with multiple Islam groups, according to his social media accounts, the news outlet reported.
The professor was the faculty advisor of Moorpark College Muslim Student Association and is involved with the Islamic Society of Simi Valley.
It’s unclear if he will faces hate crime charges.