A patient at a California hospital was charged with murder after he allegedly killed another patient with an oxygen tank, authorities said.
Los Angeles Police said in a news release on Wednesday the incident happened inside a Lancaster hospital on Dec. 17 at about 9:45 a.m. and involved two people who were receiving treatment for the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus, commonly known as the novel coronavirus.
The suspect, identified as 37-year-old Jesse Martinez, reportedly became upset after a fellow patient, who was also his roommate, started to pray. He then allegedly bludgeoned the elderly man to death with an oxygen tank.
“Detectives have learned that the victim was at Antelope Valley Hospital receiving treatment for COVID-19,” police said in the release.
“He was housed in a two-person room inside the hospital with the suspect, who was also there receiving treatment. The suspect became upset when the victim started to pray. He then struck the victim with an oxygen tank,” police added.
Martinez was arrested and charged with murder.
He was also charged with a hate crime enhancement and elder abuse for killing his roommate who authorities have identified as an 82-year-old Hispanic male.
Martinez’s bail was set at $1 million and he is set to appear in Antelope Valley Court on Dec. 28. It is unclear if he has an attorney.
Police said the two patients did not know each other and the investigation is ongoing.
R. Rex Parris, the mayor of Lancaster, said in a statement he was “shocked and saddened” after hearing the news, the Los Angeles Times reported.
“These families were already experiencing a hardship and now this—it’s senseless,” he said.
Lancaster is a charter city located in the north of Los Angeles County in Southern California.