Delbert Belton was a WWII hero who once fought in the Battle of Okinawa, but met his fate at the hands of two teenagers who this week beat the 88-year-old man to death.
Police in Spokane, Washington, said one African-American teen is now under arrest for Denton’s fatal beating and another being hunted down. Authorities said the pair chose Belton at random as he sat in a car outside an Eagles Lodge.
Bobbie Belton, Delbert’s daughter-in-law, said the teens beat Delbert with heavy flashlights.
“They used those great big heavy flashlights,” she told KREM-TV. “The doctors said he was bleeding from all parts of his face.”
Spokane police Lt. Mark Griffiths said there doesn’t appear to be a clear-cut motive in the attack.
“It does appear random,” Griffiths told reporters. “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.”
After the attack officers swept the area with dogs and dusted for fingerprints on a chain-link fence where the two suspects were seen fleeing. Police also found surveillance footage showing the pair of teenagers beating Delbert Benlon.
Names of the two teenagers arrested for the murder have not yet been released.
Belton joined the Army as a teenager and fought during the Battle of Okinawa.
“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.”
Friends said they were shocked anyone would want to hurt the 88-year-old Belton.
“He lived his life every day to make somebody else happy,” said friend Lill Duncan. “It wasn’t all about him. It was about what he could do for everybody else.”
Friends said Delbert Belton was actually waiting in his car to help out a friend who needed a ride at the time he was killed.