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(Update: Spokane, Wa., police have arrested one 16-year-old boy and are looking for a second in connection with the beating death of an 88-year-old World War II veteran this week, CNN reported.
The arrested teen has been charged with first-degree robbery and first-degree murder. Police said they’re still looking for the other suspect, identified by authorities as Kenan Adams-Kinard, 16.)
World War II veteran Delbert Belton, 88, survived being wounded in action during the Battle of Okinawa, only to be beaten and left to die by two black teens outside a lounge in Spokane where he loved to play pool.
Wednesday night, Denison was outside the Fraternal Order of the Eagles Lodge waiting for a friend because he didn’t want her to walk home alone, Lillian Duncan told the Spokesman-Review.
“He was so awesome,” Duncan told the paper. “Anybody that didn’t get to know him missed out on a wonderful angel in their life.”
Officers responded to reports of an assault and found Belton in his car with serious head injuries. He died the next morning in the hospital.
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“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,” Det. Mark Griffiths told KXLY-TV.
Belton, known as “Shorty” by his friends at the Eagles Lodge, served in the U.S. Army in the Pacific during World War II and was shot in the leg during the Battle of Okinawa. He went on to work at Kaiser Aluminum for more than 30 years.
Friends say he enjoyed playing pool and working on cars.
“He was just a nice person for God’s sake. I don’t think Shorty had a mean bone in his body,” said Betty, who asked the TV station not to use her last name.
“What is this world coming to anyway? They are raising a bunch of idiots. I mean how would they like someone to do that to them when they get 88 years old?” she said.
Authorities on Thursday released surveillance photos of the two suspects, described as black males between the ages of 16 and 19.
It’s the second time in a week an attack by black teenagers has claimed a life.
On August 16, a 23-year-old Australian baseball player attending college in Oklahoma was gunned down in the town of Duncan.
The randomness of the two attacks was not lost on Ted Denison, Belton’s long-time friend.
“It’s really depressing,” Denison told CNN late Thursday night. “Seems that all there is is bad news.”
The two men met more than 20 years ago and worked on cars together.
“We were mechanic buddies,” the 42-year-old Denison said. “We just kind of kicked right along.”
But the friends also hung out together outside the garage.
“We went dancing on Saturday nights,” Denison said. “We went out to breakfast together.”
Belton stopped by the Eagles Lodge two or three times a week. He played pool, but by his own admission, wasn’t too good at it.
“I don’t understand how somebody could do this, I really don’t.”
Belton’s wife died several years ago. He is survived by a son.