December 8, 2023

Radio talk show host Charlie Kirk, who founded the American conservative organization Turning Point USA (TPUSA), said one of the group’s staffers was attacked by “pro-Hamas supporters” in Skokie, Illinois, over the weekend.

Around 5 p.m. on Sunday, a pro-Israel event was being held at the Ateres Ayala event space on Touhy Avenue in the Chicago suburb when roughly 200 pro-Palestine protesters showed up for a counter-rally, Skokie police told local media.

The events descended into chaos with reports of a gunshot and a Chicago police officer and two civilians needing treatment for minor injuries after someone discharged pepper spray, according to the Skokie Police Department (SPD). Kirk said his TPUSA staffers were caught in the violence.

TPUSA Staffer Attacked at Rally in Skokie
Founder and executive director of Turning Point USA Charlie Kirk speaks at the opening of the Turning Point Action conference on July 15, 2023 in West Palm Beach, Florida. Kirk said one of the TPUSA staffers was attacked by “pro-Hamas supporters” outside of an event in Skokie, Illinois, on October 22, 2023.
Joe Raedle/Getty

Newsweek reached out via email on Monday to SPD for comment.

Kirk said in a post on X, formerly Twitter, that two TPUSA staffers were helping escort an elderly Jewish couple from the pro-Israel rally when they were “violently attacked” by pro-Hamas supporters.

The conservative commentator, responding to a video of the altercation shared on X by StopAntisemitism, identified one of the TPUSA staffers as Peter Christos and said he is not Jewish.

Kirk called for those involved in the attack to be charged with hate crimes.

“This is our @TPUSA staffer, Peter Christos, who is Christian, not Jewish,” Kirk said in the post on X. “Yesterday, he was violently attacked while he and another TPUSA staffer were trying to escort an elderly Jewish couple away from a pro-Israel rally. On the way to their cars, they encountered pro-Hamas supporters who assaulted them, punched them repeatedly, and hit them with a flag pole before cops could pull them away to safety. All of these thugs need to be arrested and charged with hate crimes.

Christos also posted about the incident on X, saying he was “punched repeatedly, kicked in the head, and hit with a flagpole.”

“Yesterday in Skokie, myself & @TPUSA coworker were violently attacked by Pro-Hamas protestors while trying to escort a lost, elderly Jewish couple to the Pro-Israel event,” Christos said in the post. “I was punched repeatedly, kicked in the head, and hit with a flagpole. This is being Pro-Israel in 2023.”

The other TPUSA staffer was not identified in the social media posts.

Newsweek reached out via email and the TPUSA website on Monday to reach Kirk and Christos for comment.

The violence at the Skokie events comes as Israel has intensified its strikes on the Gaza Strip and prepares for a ground assault. Saturday marked two weeks of fighting between Hamas and Islamic Jihad militants and Israeli forces following surprise attacks on Israel on October 7.

As of Monday, over 1,400 people in Israel have died, the Associated Press reported, in addition to more than 5,000 Palestinians in Gaza. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said his country is “at war” and has cut off food, fuel, electricity, and medicine supplies to Gaza, home to an estimated 2.3 million people.