LANCASTER, California (KTLA) — A patient accused of fatally beating his 82-year-old hospital roommate with an oxygen tank after the victim began praying has been arrested on suspicion of a hate crime murder, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department said Wednesday.
The assault took place last Thursday morning at Antelope Valley Hospital in Lancaster, a sheriff’s news release stated.
The victim, who was diagnosed with COVID-19, and the suspect — identified as 37-year-old Jesse Martinez — were sharing a two-person room in the hospital and were both receiving treatment, according to the department.
Martinez “became upset when the victim started to pray. He then struck the victim with an oxygen tank,” the release said.
The victim succumbed to his injuries the following morning. He has not been identified.
Martinez was arrested on suspicion of murder with a hate crime enhancement, as well as elder abuse. He’s being held on $1 million and is scheduled to appear in court Monday.
No further details have been released amid the ongoing investigation.
Anyone with information is asked to call the Sheriff’s Department’s Homicide Bureau at 323-890-5500. Anonymous tips can also be left by calling 800-222-8477.