A man was in custody Wednesday following his arrest for allegedly killing a fellow patient with an oxygen tank at Antelope Valley Hospital in Lancaster, where both men were being treated for COVID-19, authorities said.
Jesse Martinez, 37, was booked on suspicion of murder and his bail was set at $1 million, according to the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.
Martinez has been charged with murder, a hate crime enhancement, and elder abuse, according to the sheriff’s department, which reported that he is scheduled to appear in Antelope Valley Court on Monday.
The crime occurred about 9:45 a.m. Dec. 17 at the facility, where both men were being treated for COVID-19, the sheriff’s department reported.
“(The victim) was housed in a two-person room inside the hospital with the suspect, who was also there receiving treatment,” a sheriff’s department statement said. “The suspect became upset when the victim started to pray. He then struck the victim with an oxygen tank.”
The name of the 82-year-old victim, who died the following day, was withheld, pending notification of his relatives.
The victim and suspect did know one another, the sheriff’s department reported.