A 37-year-old COVID-19 patient has beat another coronavirus patient to death with an oxygen tank in a hospital. Jesse Martinez was being treated for COVID-19 at the Antelope Valley Hospital in California and shared a room with an 82-year-old Hispanic man who was also undergoing treatment for the disease.
Martinez on December 17 became enraged that his elderly hospital roommate was praying and hit him repeatedly with an oxygen tank until he slumped. The two persons were strangers to each other prior to their admission at the hospital, but Martinez said he was angry at the old man’s Catholic prayers and then attacked him.
The unnamed victim died at 10:20 a.m. the following morning.
Martinez was restrained by hospital staff until police officers arrived at the hospital. He was charged with murder and hate crime as well as elder abuse enhancements, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department’s Homicide Bureau said. His bail was set at $1 million, and he will be arraigned at the Antelope Valley Court on Monday, December 28, USA Today reports.
“The suspect became upset when the victim started to pray,” police investigators said. “He then struck the victim with an oxygen tank. The victim died from his injuries the next day.”
California has experienced a massive surge in the number of COVID-19 cases in recent weeks, and the authorities announced over 39,000 new cases and 361 deaths on Wednesday. The state now has more than 1.9 million positive cases and 23,000 deaths.
Gov. Gavin Newsom announced that 525,000 cases of the disease were recorded within the last two weeks, and several hospitals have begun to make plans to ration hospital care to only critically-ill patients as a result of declining medical personnel and equipment.
The Los Angeles County implemented a stay-at-home order this month but authorities find that 30% of the people are not complying with the order, further raising the risks of coronavirus transmission.