Police have arrested a pro-Palestinian California college professor in the death of a 69-year-old Jewish man at concurrent pro-Israel and pro-Palestinian demonstrations on Nov. 5.
Loay Abdelfattah Alnaji, 50, was taken into custody on Thursday, charged with involuntary manslaughter and battery causing great body injury and incarcerated at Ventura County Jail on $1,000,000 bail, according to a Ventura County Sheriff’s Department press release. Both charges have “special allegations that Alnaji personally inflicted great bodily injury,” the release said.
“We’re not providing any additional information at this moment in time, however there will be additional information released later today,” Sgt. Rob Yoos told Fox News Digital on Thursday morning.
Investigators with the department allege that Alnaji caused pro-Israel protester Paul Kessler to knock his head onto the concrete when he fell, which resulted in brain hemorrhaging that would kill him hours later in the hospital.
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Although police previously obtained a warrant to search Alnaji’s vehicle and home in Moorpark on Nov. 6, detaining the then-suspect for about two hours, they had insufficient evidence to carry out an arrest.
It is unclear what new evidence led to Alnaji’s arrest. In the weeks preceding his arrest, some witnesses have told Fox News Digital that the pro-Palestinian protester struck Kessler with his megaphone. An autopsy carried out by Ventura County Medical Examiner Christopher Young showed minor abrasions to the left side of Kessler’s mouth in addition to the brain swelling and bruising that killed him.
The Ventura County Sheriff’s Department and District Attorney’s office have scheduled a press conference Friday on the investigation, the agencies said.
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The department wrote that they are still crowdsourcing photos and video from 3 p.m. and 4 p.m. at the intersections of Westlake and Thousand Oaks Boulevards, and offering a $1,000 reward for any pertinent footage or information.
Alnaji is a full-time professor teaching computer science at Ventura County Community College’s Moorpark campus. The school did not immediately return Fox News Digital’s request for comment.
He was born in Kuwait, according to the Ventura County District Attorney’s office. His citizenship status is not currently clear.
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Alnaji has taught college students since 2003 and holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in computer science and a doctorate in business administration, per his since-removed faculty page and linked YouTube introduction that has since been removed.
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On his now-deleted Instagram, Alnaji reposted a video in which activist Shahid King Bolsen compares the Hamas terrorist group to civil rights leaders Nelson Mandela and Mahatma Gandhi:
“If someone asked me to condemn Hamas I would say, what’s the rush?” Bolsen said in the video Alnaji shared. “Let’s let history decide.”
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“Let’s wait to see because you might change your mind on this, too — you condemned Mahatma Gandhi until you didn’t,” Bolsen said in the video shared by Alnaji.
In footage capturing the aftermath of the altercation between Alnaji and Kessler, the latter man can be seen bleeding on the ground.
Alnaji sits feet away on a curb, and can be seen answering a police officer’s questions. At a press conference on Nov. 7, Ventura County Sheriff James Fryhoff said that the then-unnamed suspect was cooperative.
Later, Alnaji can be seen looking on as Kessler is pulled into a waiting ambulance on a gurney.
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Witnesses at the scene have told Fox News Digital that Alnaji “tried to bait” Kessler before their altercation and was using a megaphone to shout directly into the faces of pro-Israel protesters.
“I don’t know how many times I told him to take that out of my ear,” Jonathan Oswaks, Kessler’s friend and fellow protester, said of Alnaji’s behavior. “And I wasn’t polite about it… He tried to bait me and I didn’t take the bait. [Then] he walked across the street and tried to bait Paul.”
Another witness said that Alnaji was “very aggressive” at the scene.
“[Alnaji wanted] to maybe not kill or hurt [Kessler], but to get in his face and get into an altercation,” the man, who asked not to be named, told Fox News Digital.
Alnaji’s first appearance at Ventura County Superior Court is scheduled for Nov. 20.
Source: Fox News