After Jewish man Paul Kessler’s death in protest brawl, California looks to public for tips

Paul Kessler, who died during an Israel-Palestine protest clash, holds an Israeli flag. — AFP In order to sort through divergent witness accounts regarding the events leading up to the death of Paul Kessler, a 69-year-old Jewish man who fell and fatally injured his head during Israel-Hamas war protests in Thousand Oaks on Sunday, authorities in Southern California are requesting the public’s assistance.

Paul Kessler, was having a disagreement with a pro-Palestinian demonstrator before he fell, but Ventura County Sheriff Jim Fryhoff stated during a press conference on Tuesday that it is still unknown what caused the fall.

“We’re still waiting to see evidence of what occurred in that 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,” Fryhoff said, urging people to come forward with video, photos or accounts of the incident.

At the protests, which are two of several that have risen up in cities around the US either in favour of Israel or to criticise its retribution for the October 7 Hamas bombings, which killed over 1,400 people, Kessler was defending Israel, according to the sheriff.

The Palestinian Ministry of Health in Ramallah has reported that over 10,000 people have died in Gaza as a result of Israel’s military onslaught, which it claims was inspired by sources inside the Hamas-controlled area.

Just before 3:30pm on Monday, sheriff’s deputies discovered Kessler still cognizant and receptive. After being taken to a hospital, Young claimed, he was declared critically ill but passed on the next morning from his wounds.

The sheriff stated that although Kessler’s death is being looked at as a homicide, the idea of a hate crime has not been ruled out by the authorities.

The sheriff stated that a 50-year-old suspect who cooperated with detectives was interrogated at the site and admitted to them that he had a fight with Kessler. The suspect claimed to have been among those who contacted 911 to ask for medical assistance for Kessler.

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