On Wednesday night, 88-year-old World War II veteran Delbert Belton was waiting in his car outside the local Eagles lodge when two teens ambushed and beat him. He was found still in his car and died early Thursday morning from the injuries he sustained.
Here’s what you need to know about this tragedy, the life of Belton, and the fury his slaying has sparked on the Internet.
1. He Was Waiting to Play Pool at the Eagles Lodge When He was Attacked
On Wednesday night, around 8 p.m., 88-year-old Delbert Belton was waiting in his car outside of Spokane, Washington’s Eagles Lodge. This was where he met his caregiver every week to play pool, according to Fox’s Spokane affiliate.
As he waited in his car, he was attacked by two teens. When his caregiver arrived, the two suspects fled and Belton was found unconscious and bleeding. He was taken to Sacred Heart Medical Center, where he died early Thursday morning.
2. According to Witnesses & Surveillance Tapes, Two Teens Committed the Crime
Police believe security camera photos, which you can see above, depict the two suspects wanted in the murder of Belton. The pictures were released by the Spokane Police Department as they ask local residents to be on the lookout for the young men pictured.
Based on the images, a composite-drawing enthusiast created the following images:
3. 1 Suspect Has Been Arrested & Another Named
#Spokane police have arrested one suspect, a juvenile male, in connection to the beating death of an 88 year old man earlier this week.
— Spokane Police (@SpokanePD) August 23, 2013
The Spokane Police Department tweeted that one of the suspects was arrested. Local reporter Kate Steiner later tweeted that the suspect had been apprehended last night.
The suspect, 16-year-old Demetruis Glenn of Spokane, Washington, will be charged with the murder of Delbert Belton. The other suspect remains at large.
KHQ in Spokane reports:
Charges of 1st degree murder and 1st degree robbery pending.
Then local reporter Alex Rozier tweeted that a second suspect, born in 1997, has been named: Kenan Adams Kinard.
— Alex Rozier (@AlexRozier) August 23, 2013
4. The Internet is in a Frenzy
Multiple Facebook pages have already been created in reaction to the crime and Belton’s death. I AM Delbert Belton, Remember Delbert Belton, and Justice for Delbert Belton, were all created since Belton’s death.
#DelbertBelton was trending on Twitter.
5. Racial Tension is High, and Some are Calling for Vigilante Justice
All over Facebook, people are calling for racially motivated vigilante justice for the killing of Delbert Belton, and last week’s murder of Christopher Lane by teens in Duncan, Oklahoma.
6. There is a ‘We the People’ White House Petition
A petition was created this morning on We the People, the White Houses’ public petitioning website, for President Obama to “publicly address the brutal murder of decorated WW2 Hero Delbert “Shorty” Belton allegedly by two teens in Spokane WA.”
The petition already has 315 signatures, and if it gets 100,000 after 30 days, President Obama or his administration will have to give a response.
7. His Nephew Shared a Bloody Picture & Said ‘Justice Will Be Served’
Belton’s nephew, Allen Hills, was horrified to learn of the attack. When he first read about it he didn’t know that he was related to the victim but the nature of incident moved him so much that he shared the story through social media. A few hours later, his mother called him to say that it was his uncle, Shorty, who was the victim. He told KREM:
I couldn’t wrap my brain around it as it was. Two hours later I get a phone call from my mom telling me it was my great-uncle…
You never know when a random, senseless act of violence is going to take someone you care about.
On his Facebook page today, Hills shared a picture of his uncle’s blood on the pavement:
Hills also posted this comment:
8. Belson Enlisted July 7, 1943, and Was Wounded in Okinawa
According to his military record , Belton enlisted in the military on July 24, 1943. He enlisted in Spokane, Washington, and listed his profession as a farm hand.
He fought in the Pacific Theater and was wounded in the leg in the Battle of Okinawa.
Several reports call him an Army veteran, but Fox is reporting he was a Marine.
9. Spokane Has a High Crime Rate
Spokane has a higher crime rate than the rest of Washington with a total of 1,304 violent crimes in 2012. That’s just over six violent crimes per 1,000 residents compared to less than three violent crimes per 1,000 people as the average for the state.
10. There is a Candlelight Vigil Scheduled for Friday Night
A candlelight vigil for Delbert Belton is being held at the Spokane Ice Arena at 8:30 p.m.
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