On Thursday, a man was arrested by the Ventura County Sheriff's Department following the death of 69-year-old Jewish protestor Paul Kessler, who was killed last week after the man struck him over the head with a bullhorn during a confrontation between pro-Palestinian and pro-Israeli protesters in Los Angeles.
According to the Sherriff's Department, Loay Almaji was arrested in Moorpark, California, on involuntary manslaughter charges. As previously reported by the DC Enquirer, Kessler was involved in a verbal disagreement with an Almaji prior to being attacked by the 50-year-old pro-Palestinian activist with a bullhorn. The elderly man was waving an Israeli flag at the time of the altercation. He was part of a group working to counterprotest pro-Palestinian rallies in the Los Angeles neighborhood of Thousand Oaks.
The perpetrator struck Kessler over the head with a bullhorn, causing him to collapse and hit his head on the concrete. The Ventura County Medical Examiner's Office revealed that Kessler died from a blunt-force head injury, and the office determined the death to be a homicide. Video of the aftermath shows Kessler on the ground being attended to by fellow demonstrators and a pro-Palestinian protestor.
"Witness accounts indicated that Kessler was involved in a physical altercation with [pro-Palestinian] counterprotesters," the authorities explained following the incident. "During the altercation, Kessler fell backward and struck his head on the ground."
Following Kessler's death, the Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles issued a statement that read, "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," the group wrote. "Violence against our people has no place in a civilized society. We demand safety. We will not tolerate violence against our community. We will do everything in our power to prevent it."
Los Angeles Mayor Karne Bass (D) also issued the following statement: "We mourn the death of the Jewish man who died after being injured during a protest in Thousand Oaks. As details emerge and are confirmed, we stand resolute in condemnation of violence and antisemitism," Bass said. "This death is a blow to our region at a time when tensions continue to rise worldwide. We must redouble our efforts to ensure violence and hate are met with accountability and consequences. Los Angeles refuses to harbor this hatred."
Watch the aftermath of the attack below:
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