WWII Veteran, Delbert Belton, represented the best of America – a member of the greatest generation, he answered his nation’s call to arms and paid for the freedom we enjoy today when he was injured in fighting during the battle for Okinawa. Today this hero was savagely and ruthlessly beaten by two young teenagers and ultimately succumbed to his injuries and died.
The question we have to ask ourselves, was this just another senseless act of violence by callous teens? Or is this symptomatic of a larger issue we are facing in America today?
I don’t want to pontificate too much but I think these seemingly random acts are a result of a certain desensitization of our youth combined with a resentment towards others. There is no reason when someone would attack an 88 year-old man for no apparent reason other than a lack of respect for his life as a human being.
From KHQ.com comes these details
Here are the details of this disgusting incident:
SPOKANE, Wash. – WWII veteran Delbert Belton survived being wounded in action during the Battle of Okinawa only to be beaten and left for dead by two teens at the Eagles Lodge in Spokane on Wednesday evening. Belton, 88, succumbed to his injuries Thursday morning at Sacred Heart Medical Center.
Witnesses say Belton was in the parking lot of the Eagles Lodge at 6410 N. Lidgerwood, adjacent to the Eagles Ice-A-Rena, around 8 p.m. Wednesday when the two male suspects attacked him as he was about to head inside to play pool.
Police responded with K-9s to track the suspects’ scent but were not able to locate them.
“It does appear random. He was in the parking lot, it appears he was assaulted in the parking lot and there was no indication that he would have known these people prior to the assault,” Spokane Police Major Crimes Detective Lieutenant Mark Griffiths said.
Belton died from his injuries Thursday morning at Sacred Heart Medical Center.
“Shorty,” as he was known by his friends at the Eagles Lodge, served in the U.S. Army in the Pacific during WWII and was shot in the leg during the Battle of Okinawa. He went on to work at Kaiser Aluminum at the company’s Trentwood plant for more than 30 years. Belton’s wife passed away several years ago.
He loved playing pool, even though he claimed he was no good at it and had been a member of the Eagles Lodge for the last four months. In addition to playing pool he loved working on cars.
Shorty was Ted Denison’s best friend of 23 years; the two played pool occasionally and worked on cars daily.
“He was always there for me when I needed him,” Denison said. “We’d joke back and forth. We were always having fun, some sort of fun.”
He was the kind of nice old man who’d become your friend in minutes.
“Probably every time I come into town, he’d have a project for me to do,” Denison said. “I thought of him more as a dad than I did a friend really.”
Now, with the suspects still at large and the Spokane Police Department working to track them down, Shorty’s friends are hoping for justice.
“I don’t understand how somebody could do this. I really don’t,” Denison said.
Spokane police are looking for two male suspects in the attack. They said the suspects are African Americans between 16 and 19 years old. One suspect was described as heavy set and wearing all black clothing. The other was described as being about 6 feet tall and 150 pounds. There was no description of what clothing the second suspect was wearing other than a silk do-rag.
Police investigating the deadly attack on Belton have also obtained surveillance footage from the scene.
The Spokane Police have sent out a call for help in identifying the suspects in this case. If you have any information about the below suspects please contact the Spokane Police Department Tipline at (509) 242-TIPS (8477)
***UPDATE 8/23/2013 12:39 EST***
This just in from KREM2 News in Spokane, they released the name of the suspect in custody:
Spokane police have arrested one suspect, a juvenile male, in connection with the beating death of an 88 year old man earlier this week outside Eagles Ice-A-Rena.
Due to the severity of the crime, KREM 2 News is releasing the name of the juvenile arrested. Sources say Demetrius Glenn is in custody.
Glenn was booked on 1st Degree Robbery and 1st Degree Murder charges.
Sources tell KREM 2 Demetrius Glenn has a lenghty criminal history. He was convicted of assault and riot and was supposed to be in court on Aug 28 for another charge.
On Friday, the Spokane County Medical Examiner’s Office confirmed that the victim, Delbert Belton, died of blunt facial and head injuries.
I am hearing rumors that a 2nd suspect may be in custody but until we can confirm that consider them to still be at-large. We will update as soon as we get that confirmation.