A patient allegedly beat another coronavirus patient to death with an oxygen tank last week inside Antelope Valley Hospital in Lancaster, California.
“The victim, an 82-year-old Latino man, was being treated for a COVID-19 infection in a two-person room with suspect Jesse Martinez,” the Los Angeles Times reported.
The incident occurred December 17 around 9:45 a.m., the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department said in a press release detailing the events:
The suspect became upset when the victim started to pray. He then struck the victim with an oxygen tank. The victim succumbed to his injuries and was pronounced deceased on December 18, 2020 at approximately 10:20 a.m. The victim and suspect did not know each other. The suspect, 37 year-old Jesse Martinez, was arrested and charged with murder, a hate crime enhancement and elder abuse. His bail is set at $1,000,000. He is set to appear in Antelope Valley Court December 28, 2020.
The investigation is ongoing and no further information was available at the time of the news release.
Hospital administrators declined to comment because of the investigation’s active status, the Antelope Valley Press reported Thursday.
This week, California became the first state to record two million confirmed cases of the Chinese coronavirus, “reaching the milestone on Christmas Eve as nearly the entire state was under a strict stay-at-home order,” according to the Associated Press (AP):
A tally by Johns Hopkins University showed the nation’s most populous state has recorded 2,010,157 infections since January. At least 23,635 people have died from the virus. The first COVID-19 case in California was confirmed Jan. 25. It took 292 days to get to 1 million infections on Nov. 11. Just 44 days later, the number topped 2 million.
“California’s infection rate — in terms of the number of cases per 100,000 people — is lower than the U.S. average. But its nearly 40 million residents mean the outbreak outpaces other states in sheer numbers,” the AP report concluded.