The family of a WWII vet beaten to death by a pair of black teenagers is trying to ease racial tensions that have arisen as a result of the senseless killing.
Authorities in Spokane, Washington, have arrested two suspects in the beating death of 88-year-old Delbert Belton. Police said the pair picked out Delbert seemingly at random and beat him with a flashlight.
The suspects, Demetrius Glenn and Kenan Adams Kinard, will be charged as adults, police said.
Family members said the murder was senseless and that the teens deserve the harshest punishment possible.
“Kids today seem to think they can do whatever they want, however they want, take whatever they want, and there won’t be any consequences. It was a horrendous thing to do to an 88-year-old man,” said the victim’s daughter-in-law, Barbara Belton.
But at the same time, Barbara Belton tried to ease the racial tensions the case has caused.
“I don’t want people to start going crazy and doing stupid things because of it. You have to look at them as kids. Not black kids, or Hispanic kids, or white kids. They were just kids and they did something horrific,” she said.
News of the WWII vet beaten to death has sparked heated debates in forums over whether the pair should be charged with a hate crime. Following the murder of Chris Lane, a white Australian college baseball player who was murdered by a group of black and biracial youths for no apparent reason, many right-wing pundits have also called out the media for what they see as a double standard.
They claim these cases, which involved black attackers killing white victims, do not generate the same media attention and outrage as cases like Trayvon Martin.
But police Chief Frank Straub said the beating of the WWII vet wasn’t racially motivated, and instead was a robbery gone wrong.
Family members of the WWII vet beaten to death have tried to focus on celebrating his life. Delbert Belton was a decorated war veteran, serving in the Battle of Okinawa, and remembered as a kind-hearted man always willing to pitch in to help his friends.