Man arrested by authorities in California

Detectives in California arrested a suspect in connection with the death of a Jewish man who suffered a fatal head injury during an altercation earlier this month amid dueling demonstrations over the Israel-Hamas war.

Loay Abdelfattah Alnaji, a 50-year-old college professor, was taken into custody Thursday on suspicion of involuntary manslaughter, according to a news release from the Ventura County Sheriff’s Office.

He has been booked at the Ventura County Pre-Trial Detention Facility and his bail will be set at $1 million, the sheriff’s office said. The district attorney will decide whether there is enough evidence for a formal charge. It remains unclear what led the sheriff’s office to arrest Alnaji.

What happened to Paul Kessler?

Paul Kessler, 69, died at a hospital on Nov. 6 from injuries he received during a confrontation with a pro-Palestinian demonstrator a day earlier in Thousand Oaks, a suburb northwest of Los Angeles.

At a news conference earlier this month, Ventura County Sheriff Jim Fryhoff said Kessler “fell backward and struck his head on the ground” sometime after the altercation started. Fryhoff said investigators were reviewing footage of the incident to determine what had led to Kessler’s fatal fall.

Around 75 pro-Palestinian and pro-Israel demonstrators were protesting at the corners of a busy intersection in Thousand Oaks, authorities said. Kessler was seen in photos waving an Israeli flag before he was injured.

A person places flowers at a makeshift memorial at the site of an altercation between 69-year-old Paul Kessler, who was Jewish, and pro-Palestinian protester on Nov. 7, 2023 in Thousand Oaks, California. Kessler died of a head injury he sustained from falling during the confrontation at dueling Israeli and Palestinian protests on November 5. The death was ruled a homicide by the Ventura County Medical Examiner’s Office.
(Credit: Mario Tama, Getty Images)

Alnaji placed on leave from college, district spokesperson says

In a statement Thursday morning to the Ventura County Star, part of the USA TODAY network, a Ventura County Community College District spokesperson confirmed that Alnaji is a district employee and said the district has been in communication with law enforcement “throughout this process.” 

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