An 82-year-old COVID-19 patient was beaten to death with an oxygen tank inside a California hospital by another man who was also being treated for the virus, authorities said.
The violent death inside the two-person room at the Antelope Valley Hospital in Lancaster, California, occurred on Dec. 17 when the unidentified 82-year-old man began to pray and another patient, 37-year-old Jesse Martinez, became angry. Los Angeles County sheriff’s officials said Martinez used an oxygen tank to strike the victim.
Both men had been admitted to the hospital in Lancaster to be treated for COVID-19 but did not know each other, officials added.
The victim was pronounced dead at 10:20 a.m. the following day.
Lancaster Mayor R. Rex Parris told the Los Angeles Times in a statement that he was “shocked” by the killing.
“These families were already experiencing a hardship and now this — it’s senseless,” he said.
Martinez has been charged with one count of murder, as well as sentencing enhancements for a hate crime and elder abuse, officials said Wednesday.
Records show Martinez was removed from the hospital after the attack and booked into county jail, where he is being held in lieu of $1 million bail.