The man fell after an altercation with pro-Palestinian demonstrators. No arrests have yet been made after the death of a Jewish man near Los Angelesin California, the local sheriff announced Tuesday.
The investigation is open “for homicide”, explained Jim Fryhoff, sheriff of Ventura County, without excluding a possible anti-Semitic motive and specifying that he had briefly arrested and then released a pro-Palestinian demonstrator. But “the suspect was not arrested. No arrests have been made in connection with this incident,” he added.
” Not clear “
The 69-year-old Jewish man, Paul Kessler, died of a head injury on Monday, after participating in a pro-Israel demonstration on Sunday, at an intersection where a pro-Palestinian rally was also taking place, in the city of Thousand Oaks, northwest of Los Angeles.
A confrontation took place between the two groups, which numbered between “75 and 100 people” between them, according to the sheriff. During this altercation, Paul Kessler fell backwards and hit his head on the ground, according to the first elements of the investigation. When police arrived, “he was bleeding from his head and mouth.”
“What happened before Paul Kessler fell backwards is unclear at this time,” the sheriff insisted. According to him, several witnesses at the scene provided “conflicting statements on the nature of the altercation and the identity of the attacker.”
Just after the demonstration, a pro-Palestinian suspect was questioned by officers. “Cooperative”, this 50-year-old man admitted to having been involved in the altercation and himself called emergency services for Paul Kessler, according to the sheriff. After the death on Monday, the suspect was briefly arrested and a search took place at his home. He was later released.
According to the first results of the autopsy, Paul Kessler’s death was due to the injury caused by the impact of his head against the ground. The sixty-year-old also had a non-lethal wound on the left side of his face. “We are waiting to see evidence of what happened and this interaction, to determine if a blow to the face caused the fall, or if Paul Kessler fell without that being the trigger,” detailed the sheriff.