82-year-old COVID-19 patient fatally struck with oxygen tank by roommate at Southern California hospital

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LANCASTER, Calif. (AP) — An elderly man hospitalized in Southern California for treatment of COVID-19 was fatally struck by a roommate who became annoyed when the victim began praying, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department said Wednesday.

The 82-year-old victim was struck with an oxygen tank on Dec. 17 while housed in a two-person room at Antelope Valley Hospital in Lancaster and died the next day, the department said in a statement. His name was not released.

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The suspect, Jesse Martinez, 37, was arrested and charged with murder and other crimes, the department said.

Martinez was being held on $1 million bail and was scheduled for an initial court appearance on Dec. 28. It was not immediately known if he has a lawyer who could speak on his behalf.

The Sheriff’s Department said the investigation was continuing.

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