The Washington Post reports that an elderly, hospitalized COVID-19 patient “leaned on his Catholic faith and began to pray” shortly before a fellow patient struck him with an oxygen tank and fatally injured him.
A 37-year-old California man has been arrested in the incident, which occurred while the two men shared a room at a Southern California hospital. Jesse Martinez was charged with murder and elder abuse in the Dec. 17 attack, which left the 82-year-old man with injuries that claimed his life the following day, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department said.
Both men were receiving treatment for COVID-19 at the Antelope Valley Hospital in Lancaster, Calif. Martinez was sharing a hospital room with the victim, whom he did not know, according to authorities. The motive for the attack was not clear, and it is not clear why Martinez became angry when the man started praying. The incident is still under investigation.
Martinez will appear before a judge at the Antelope Valley Court on Dec. 28, ten days after the fatal attack. He is being held on $1,000,000 bail at Twin Towers Correctional Facility, reports the Post. It’s not clear whether he has a lawyer or a criminal history.
It is at least the second time an elderly patient has been killed by another hospital patient since the COVID-19 pandemic began.