Witnesses report that their small group of pro-Israel supporters was targeted by counter-protesters. The Ventura County Sheriff’s department is currently investigating this violent incident as a potential hate crime. Paramedics rushed to assist a 69-year Jewish man named Paul Kesler who was knocked to the ground and suffered a fatal head injury after being struck by a counter-pro at a dueling pro-Israel and pro-Palestinian demonstration.
The witness, who wishes to anonymous, described a heated confrontation between the two sides, with yelling and the counter-protester eventually Paul with a megaphone. Paul was quickly treated and transported to the hospital, where he tragically died from his severe head injury. Authorities have ruled his death as a homicide.
It is disheartening that it came to this point, as people should be to express their opinions without violence resulting in someone’s funeral. The deadly encounter occurred on Sunday afternoon in Thousand Oaks, as both groups gathered on opposite corners.
Witnesses claimed that members of the pro-Palestinian group approached and antagonized them, escalating the situation into violence. The suspect, identified by witnesses, provided his own account to the deputies.
The Ventura County Sheriff’s department is investigating whether this encounter meets the criteria for a hate crime. In the opinion of some witnesses, it is evident that this incident was motivated by hate, as it would not have occurred if the counter-protesters hadn’t initiated the provocation.
The Ventura County Sheriff’s Department plans to hold a press conference regarding the case tomorrow, coinciding with Paul Kesler’s funeral..