A praying 82-year-old COVID-19 patient was beaten to death by another patient with an oxygen tank, police say

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hospital coronavirus
The incident occurred in Antelope Valley Hospital (not pictured) in Lancaster, California, on December 17. Getty
  • The police in California arrested a man accused of killing an 82-year-old patient being treated for COVID-19 in a hospital on December 17.

  • Jesse Martinez, 37, was arrested and charged with murder, hate-crime enhancement, and elder abuse, the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department said this week.

  • Detectives said Martinez became enraged when the man started to pray. They said Martinez, who shared the hospital room with the man, then attacked him with an oxygen tank.

  • The investigation is ongoing, the department said.

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The police in California are investigating the death of a man in a hospital who they say was struck by another patient wielding an oxygen tank.

The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department said this week Jesse Martinez, 37, struck an 82-year-old Hispanic man who was being treated for COVID-19 in the same room in the Antelope Valley Hospital in Lancaster on December 17.

Martinez was charged with murder, hate-crime enhancement, and elder abuse, the department said. He is expected to appear in court in Antelope Valley on Monday.

Detectives said that Martinez became enraged when the man started to pray, then attacked the man with an oxygen tank. The man was pronounced dead the next day.

The two men did not know each other, the department said.

Lancaster Mayor R. Rex Parris told the Los Angeles Times in a statement that he was "shocked and saddened" to hear of the man's death.

The investigation is ongoing, the department said.

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