An elderly patient receiving treatment for COVID-19 at the Antelope Valley Hospital in Lancaster, Calif., was allegedly beaten to death with an oxygen tank by his hospital roommate, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department said Wednesday.
Authorities said that the assault took place on Dec. 17, and the victim was pronounced dead the following day.
The suspect, 37-year-old Jesse Martinez, was sharing a two-person room in the hospital with the 82-year-old victim when he allegedly "became upset when the victim started to pray. He then struck the victim with an oxygen tank," police wrote in a release.
The victim, who has not been identified, succumbed to his injuries and was pronounced deceased the next morning. Authorities believe that the victim and Martinez did not know each other.
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The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department arrested Martinez and charged him with "murder, a hate crime enhancement and elder abuse."
His bail is set at $1,000,000 and he is scheduled to appear in Antelope Valley Court on Dec. 28.
It was not immediately clear if Martinez has entered a plea or retained an attorney to comment on his behalf.
Authorities released no further details and said an investigation is still ongoing. They encouraged anyone with information regarding the incident to contact the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department's Homicide Bureau at (323) 890-5500.
People can also leave anonymous tips by calling 800-222-8477.
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