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Authorities in California Launch Manhunt for Pro-Hamas Suspect Linked to Assault on Jewish Woman

UPDATE February 28, 2024: 36-year-old Christopher Husary of Hayward was arrested around 7 a.m. in connection with the incident; more here.

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Police in El Cerrito have released photos of man suspected of a hate crime after they said a woman carrying an Israeli flag was attacked during a weekend protest calling for a ceasefire in Gaza.

Officers said Monday that ceasefire protesters and counter-protesters marched from neighboring Albany to El Cerrito on Saturday. About 100 protesters took over the intersection of San Pablo Avenue and Carlson Boulevard for about an hour, while a group of counter-protesters holding Israeli flags stood on the sidewalk.

During the protest, police said a male protester pushed a woman to the ground from behind. He then took the woman’s Israel flag from her hands by force, then burned the flag in the street.

Police said the woman suffered a minor injury.

According to officers, the incident was captured on video and is being investigated as a hate crime.

“The El Cerrito Police Department supports the constitutional rights of all people to freedom of speech and assembly. However, when these acts become criminal, they will be thoroughly investigated and presented to the District Attorney’s Office for review and prosecution when appropriate,” the department said in a statement Monday.

“I was very shaken. I’m still shaken by it,” said one of the Jewish counter-protestors who, according to police, were attacked during the ceasefire demonstration. The woman requested to remain anonymous.

“They rushed over to us, again, blocking us, and they started to grab our flags and our signs,” she recounted to CBS News Bay Area.

Police released three photos of the suspect, who had his face covered with a black and white keffiyeh scarf and was wearing what officers described as a “distinctive” jacket. The suspect was also seen wearing a dark cap, a dark red shirt and black pants.

In one of the photos, the suspect was seen using a camera, while another photo shows the man carrying a black backpack.