A CORONAVIRUS patient who allegedly beat a fellow sufferer to death for praying inside a hospital in Los Angeles County has been charged with murder.
The men sharing the two-person hospital room were both being treated for Covid-19.
“The suspect became upset when the victim started to pray,” the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department said in a statement, according to the TV station.
“He then struck the victim with an oxygen tank.”
The victim, who was Catholic, died the following day from his injuries, according to the Los Angeles Times.
Hospital staff detained Martinez and he was arrested on site, sheriff’s department spokesman Lt. Brandon Dean told the newspaper.
Martinez has been charged with murder with an enhancement for a hate crime motivated by religion and elder abuse.
His bail was set at $1million and he is set to appear at Antelope Valley Court on Monday.
Lancaster Mayor R. Rex Parris said the crime “shocked and saddened” him.
“These families were already experiencing a hardship and now this—it’s senseless,” Parris said.
The suspect and victim did not know each other, according to the sheriff’s department.
Experts told KABC that there was not much the hospital could have done to prevent the beating, with staff members so busy with the pandemic and extra precautions that have to be taken in interacting with other people.