Crime & Justice

Update: Suspects in Westwood Israel/ Palestine rally melee released

NBC4 screenshot

Update 4:20 p.m.: 4 suspects in Westwood Israel/ Palestine rally melee released

Four protesters accused of using wood flagpoles to attack protesters at a pro-Israel rally Sunday night have been released on bail, the L.A. Sheriff's Department said.

The sheriff's department identified Mostadafa Hafez, 19, Haddah Kreidieh, 41, Mohammed Elkhatib, 35, and Fadi Obeidallah, 38, as suspects.

Each was booked on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon and released on $30,000 bail, a department spokesman said.

Update 12:08 p.m.: Agent on administrative leave after firing gun during pro-Israel rally

A Federal Protective Service officer has been placed on paid administrative leave after firing his gun during a pro-Israel rally on Sunday, according to the agency.

The officer discharged a single round in an attempt to stop four male suspects who were fleeing the scene in a vehicle after they allegedly assaulted a woman, FPS spokesperson Jacqueline C. Yost told KPCC in an emailed statement.

About 1,800 demonstrators were gathered at the Federal Building on Wilshire Boulevard in Westwood when the FPS requested an ambulance to assist the woman at 5:20 p.m. 

Sheriff's officials told the Los Angeles Times the suspects were driving in a truck with a Palestinian flag when a pro-Israel protester grabbed the flag and stepped on it:

The men then got out of the truck and confronted the group, and used the wooden sticks holding their flags to hit the demonstrators, said Sgt. Dave Valentine.

“It was a pretty chaotic thing,” he said.

Los Angeles police officers later stopped the vehicle and detained the four suspects, Yost said.

The officer agreed to provide a voluntary statement to the L.A. County Sheriff's Department, which is investigating the incident, according to the agency, which adds that it's FPS policy to place an officer on leave whenever a weapon is discharged.

The FPS will conduct a Use of Force review following the sheriff's investigation.

Yost said no injuries were reported.

The Times notes that Sunday’s rally followed a similar one staged Saturday in support of Palestinians.

This story has been updated.