The Ventura County Sheriff’s Office has arrested a suspect for the homicide of Paul Kessler, a Jewish man who died during a protest in Thousand Oaks earlier this month.
On Thursday, detectives from the Ventura Sheriff’s Major Crimes Bureau contacted Loay Abdelfattah Alnaji, 50, in the City of Moorpark and arrested him for the death of Kessler.
Alnaji was booked at the Ventura County Pre-Trial Detention Facility for California Penal Code section 192(b) – involuntary manslaughter and his bail is set at $1,000,000.
“Though an arrest has been made, we continue to encourage community members who may have information about this criminal investigation and have yet to come forward to please contact Detective Stump at (805) 384-4745,” the Sheriff’s Office stated.
Kessler, 69 of Thousand Oaks, died on November 6 at a hospital after falling backward and striking his head on the ground during a suspected altercation with pro-Palestinian protestors the previous day.
His death was a result of a blunt force injury to the back of his head that was “consistent with and typical of injuries sustained from a fall” and “nonlethal injuries” on the left side of his face, which could have been caused by a blow to the face, according to Ventura County Chief Medical Examiner Christopher Young.
The death was ruled a homicide, however, Young clarified the classification doesn’t necessarily point to criminal intent, only that the “death occurred at the hands of another person or the actions of another person contributed to the death of a person.”
Additionally, Young stated the nonlethal injuries on Kessler’s face could have been caused by a megaphone. Alnaji has been seen on video footage carrying a megaphone during the protest.
Ventura County Sheriff Jim Fryhoff held a press conference on November 7 to share the details of their investigation, answer questions from the press, and to ask the community to provide any relevant information or footage from the protest. Surveillance footage from the nearby gas station did not provide a clear view, he said.
Fryhoff stated investigators could not make a clear determination of what happened due to conflicting witness statements about what led to Kessler’s fall. He acknowledged that responding deputies detained a protestor when arriving to the scene and stated the man had called 911 and was cooperating.
The day after the protest, deputies briefly detained Alnaji after a traffic stop in Simi Valley while investigators executed a search warrant at his home, He is a professor of computer science at Moorpark College who has espoused pro-Palestinian stances in the past on social media, reports The Los Angeles Times.
Further clarification on what exactly happened during the altercation to lead to the arrest was not disclosed.
The Sheriff’s Office continues to ask any persons who were driving a vehicle equipped with video recording equipment, such as Teslas, in the area of Westlake Boulevard and Thousand Oaks Boulevard between 3:00 p.m. and 4 p.m. on November 5th, to reach out to detectives or utilize the link provided below to download and submit video footage.
If you prefer to remain anonymous, you may contact Crime Stoppers at 800-222-TIPS (8477). Those who wish to share video or pictures of the incident can do so and can remain anonymous by using the following link: https://venturasheriffca.
- November 7, 2023: Jewish Man Dies at Thousand Oaks Protest, Ventura Sheriff Investigating
- November 10, 2023: Ventura Sheriff Releases Update on Investigation of Jewish Protestor Who Died