LANCASTER, Calif. – A coronavirus patient at a California hospital beat a fellow patient to death with an oxygen tank last week, authorities said.
The incident occurred Dec. 17 at Antelope Valley Hospital in Lancaster, KABC reported.
The victim, an 82-year-old man, was being treated for COVID-19 in a two-person room, the Los Angeles Times reported.
Police arrested Jesse Martinez, 37, according to the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department. Martinez was charged with murder, with an enhancement for elder abuse and religion-motivated hate crime, according to Lt. Brandon Dean, a spokesman with the sheriff’s department. His bail is set at $1 million, and Martinez is due to appear in court Monday, according to the Times.
According to the sheriff’s department, Martinez became upset when the victim, a Catholic, started to pray, the newspaper reported. Deputies said Martinez then struck his roommate with an oxygen tank just before 10 a.m. The two men did not know each other, KABC reported.
The victim died the following morning from his injuries, the Times reported.
Lancaster Mayor R. Rex Parris said in a statement that he was “shocked and saddened” by the attack.
“These families were already experiencing a hardship and now this — it’s senseless,” he said.
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