Minutes before he was beaten to death by a pro-Palestinian protester, a photo of Paul Kessler was taken showing him holding an Israeli flag during a pro-Israel rally in Westlake Village, Los Angeles.
Kessler, a 69-year-old Jewish man from Thousand Oaks, California, was assaulted by a pro-Palestinian protester with a megaphone during pro-Israel and pro-Palestine demonstrations that took place simultaneously.
According to witnesses at the scene, a verbal altercation broke out between an older Jewish man and a pro-Palestinian protester. Suddenly, the protester struck the older man on the head with a megaphone he was holding.
The injured man fell to the ground bleeding and was rushed to the hospital where he was pronounced dead the next day due to a fatal brain hemorrhage.
According to an autopsy, the Ventura County Medical Examiner’s Office determined the cause of death to be blunt force head injury and the manner of death homicide.
Israelis who were present at the scene described it as "a terrifying sight" and expressed shock that such an incident took place in their neighborhood.
The incident was filmed on the victim's cellphone which has been seized by local police as evidence in their investigation into the incident. While the police have confirmed the case was being looked into, they haven't provided any further details at this time, including whether the suspect has been arrested.
The Ventura County Sheriff’s Office is requesting assistance from the public in locating the suspect.
The Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles said that the local Jewish community is ״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.״