In yet another senseless murder, an elderly man who survived wounds inflicted by the enemy in World War II’s bloody Battle of Okinawa was beaten and left for dead in his own country — possibly by the great-grandchildren of those he served in the Pacific theater.
Delbert Belton, 88, was brutally attacked Wednesday night in the parking lot of the Eagles Lodge in Spokane, Wash., where he was on his way to play pool. After he was discovered in his car, he was rushed to the hospital where he died of his injuries. The police are looking for two individuals, recorded on a security video, who police describe as black teens, according to KXLY.com.
K-9 units that arrived with the police were unable to track a scent of Belton’s assailants.
“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.
“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.
“He was always there for me when I needed him,” said Ted Denison, his best friend of 23 years. “We’d joke back and forth. We were always having fun, some sort of fun.”
The suspects are still at large and Shorty’s friends are hoping for justice.
“I don’t understand how somebody could do this. I really don’t,” Denison said.
An elderly man living on Social Security and possibly a pension couldn’t have been worth robbing. Was this another thrill killing — possibly a couple of teens who were either bored or wanted to make their bones in the local gang? Was it racially motivated?
Whoever his assailant and whatever the reason, the incident speaks ill of our society. It’s also proof positive that guns aren’t the problem — people are.
Watch the news coverage courtesy of KHQ-TV.