SPOKANE, Wash. (CBS Seattle/AP) — Police in Spokane, Wash., say they have arrested one of two teens suspected of fatally beating an 88-year-old veteran of World War II who had survived the Battle of Okinawa.
Authorities say the two young African American men, between 16 and 19 years old, approached Delbert Belton in his car at random Wednesday night outside an Eagles Lodge as he was waiting for a friend.
Belton was found by police with serious head injuries and died in the hospital Thursday.
Belton’s daughter-in-law tells KREM-TV that the suspects beat him with flashlights.
“They used those great big heavy flashlights,” Bobbie Belton said. “The doctors said he was bleeding from all parts of his face.”
Spokane Police say they have surveillance images of the attackers — at least one of them has been taken into police custody.
The Spokesman-Review reports Belton was born and raised in Spokane before he joined the Army. Friends say he was shot in the leg during the Battle of Okinawa, where thousands of American soldiers died.
“He was an Army veteran,” Glenn Longsdorff, Belton’s roommate of four years, told KREM. “In fact, he was shot when he was 18-years-old on the beaches of Okinawa. He’ll do anything in the world for anybody.”
After the war, he spent 33 years working for Kaiser Aluminum, before retiring in 1982. (continue reading)