A California COVID-19 patient is accused of beating another patient to death with an oxygen tank, authorities said.
Jesse Martinez, 37, who was being treated at Antelope Valley Hospital in Lancaster for the virus, reportedly became upset last Thursday morning when his 82-year-old hospital roommate, a Catholic Latino man, started to pray, according to the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, KTLA reported. Martinez then hit the victim with an oxygen tank, and the man later died of his injuries the following morning. (RELATED: Daily US COVID Deaths Reach Over 3,000 — A New Record)
Police said the two men reportedly did not know each other before the incident, according to KTLA.
Lt. Brandon Dean, a spokesman with the Sheriff’s Department, said hospital staff detained Martinez after the incident and he was arrested at the scene, the outlet reported. The 37-year-old was charged with murder, an enhancement for elder abuse, and a religion-motivated hate crime, authorities said, according to KTLA.
Lancaster Mayor R. Rex Parris said in a statement obtained by the LA Times that he was “shocked and saddened” by the news.
“These families were already experiencing a hardship and now this — it’s senseless,” he said, according to the outlet.
Martinez’s bail is set at $1 million and he’s scheduled to appear in court Monday, KTLA reported.