COVID-19 praying patient, 82, beaten to death in hospital

A COVID-19 patient beat another patient to death with an oxygen tank last week at Antelope Valley Hospital in Lancaster, officials said.

The victim, an 82-year-old Latin man, was being treated for a COVID-19 infection in a two-person room with suspect Jesse Martinez, according to the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.

Martinez, 37, would have been upset when the victim, a Catholic, began to pray. He then hit his octogenarian roommate with an oxygen tank just before 10 am Thursday morning, the Sheriff’s Department said.

The victim died the following morning from his injuries. According to the Sheriff’s Department, the two men did not know each other.

Martinez was arrested at the scene after hospital staff arrested him, according to Lt. Brandon Dean, a Sheriff’s Department spokesman. Martinez was charged with murder, with an extension to elder abuse and hate crimes motivated by religion. His bail was set at $ 1 million and he is due to appear in court on Monday.

Lancaster Mayor R. Rex Parris said in a statement that he was “shocked and saddened” by the news.

“These families were already experiencing difficulties and now that – it doesn’t make sense,” he said.