A California man was allegedly struck and killed by counterprotesters during a pro-Israel rally Monday, in what could be a worrying sign of political violence surrounding the ongoing war in the Middle East. The incident took place amid a number of other violent incidents reportedly targeting American Jews.
According to a rabbi who spoke to a witness, Paul Kessler was struck by a megaphone, fell to the ground and was later pronounced dead. Rabbi Mark Blazer said that he was hit “right in the mouth and he went down.”
The 69-year-old man died of head trauma due to the incident.
Kessler was holding an Israeli flag alongside other demonstrators during the Los Angeles protesters. According to the rabbi, pro-Palestinian protesters confronted Kessler and those around him.
“Paul was still conscious when he went down,” Blazer said. “At first he thought he lost some of his teeth because he was hit so hard in the mouth, but once he went down, he hit his head on the pavement.”
Red state obtained videos of the scene after the altercation leading to Paul Kessler’s death occurred.
You can hear portions of police interviews with witnesses and the anti-Israel protestors screaming “Hitler should’ve smashed you” and other obviously anti-Semitic nonsense.…
— AG (@AGHamilton29) November 7, 2023
Following the incident, Kessler was transported to a local hospital, where he was pronounced dead early Monday. According to Chief Medical Examiner Dr. Christopher Young, the injuries “could be consistent with a blow.”
The suspect remained at the site of the event following Kessler’s collapse.
Ventura County Sheriff Jim Fryhoff said that the individual, who has not been publicly named, was cooperating with law enforcement.
The incident occurred after a woman allegedly brandishing a knife was arrested after threatening a Jewish man in New York City. Melissa Ugur was confronted after reportedly tearing up fliers showing those kidnapped in the Hamas attack on Gaza.
She reportedly told the man that she would cut him and then sprayed him with pepper spray. The incident led to her arrest.
According to law enforcement, the Brooklyn woman was charged with several crimes, including menacing and criminal possession of a weapon.
Another New York City man was arrested after allegedly trying to take down fliers depicting the kidnapped in Manhattan.