The Ventura County Medical Examiner’s Office said an autopsy showed Paul Kessler died of “blunt trauma to the head” and ruled the manner of death a homicide, the LA Times reported Tuesday.
The heinous act occurred when pro-Palestinian protesters confronted the man who was carrying an Israeli flag at a road intersection. According to eyewitnesses, the victim was attacked from behind with a megaphone.
Kessler, of Thousand Oaks, was hit in the head, thrown backward and his head hit the ground, authorities said. Paramedics found the victim with a head injury, according to Ventura County Fire Department spokesperson Andy VanSciver. The man was taken to a local hospital where he died on Monday.
The agency said it had not ruled out the possibility of a hate crime.
A video shared on social media showed Kessler lying on his back at the corner of the intersection with blood dripping from his head. Rabbi Michael Barclay said Kessler and his wife Cheryl attended services at his synagogue during the High Holidays, even though they had not attended for several years. The synagogue is less than a mile from where the protests took place. Barclay said he did not know Kessler well but had email correspondence with him over the years and called him a “committed peace and pro-Israel individual.”