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

  • Police have arrested a man accused of killing an 82-year-old patient being treated for COVID-19 in a California hospital.
  • 37-year-old Jesse Martinez was arrested and charged with murder, hate crime enhancement, and elder abuse.
  • Detectives say that Martinez became enraged when the victim started to pray. Martinez, who shared a hospital room with the victim, then allegedly attacked the victim with an oxygen tank. 
  • The investigation is ongoing.
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California police are investigating the death of a man who they say was struck to death by another patient wielding an oxygen tank.

Police have arrested 37-year-old Jesse Martinez, who has been charged with murder, hate crime enhancement, and elder abuse. He is expected to appear in Antelope Valley Court on December 28.

According to the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department, the victim, an 82-year old Hispanic male who was being treated for Covid-19, was struck by Martinez, another patient being treated in the same room.

Detectives say that Martinez became enraged when the victim started to pray. The suspect then allegedly attacked the victim with an oxygen tank. 

The incident occurred on the morning of Thursday, December 17, at the Antelope Valley Hospital. The victim was pronounced dead the next day.

The two men did not know each other previously, the Sheriff's Department said.

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

The investigation is ongoing.

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