Delbert Belton, an 88-year-old WWII veteran who was brutally beaten in the parking lot of Eagles Lodge in Spokane Wednesday evening has died, as police continue on their search for two young suspects seen on surveillance cameras the night Delbert Belton was killed.
Friends say Burton was sitting outside the Fraternal Order of the Eagles Lodge when he was attacked. Police say they received a call at 8:15 p.m. Wednesday reporting an assault, and arrived on the scene to find the victim sitting in his car with serious head injuries. Burton was taken to a hospital to be treated, but died Thursday morning.
The two assailants responsible for beating Delbert Belton were teens who appeared to have picked him at random, authorities say.
"It does appear random," Spokane police Lt. Mark 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."
Delbert Belton was a WWII army vet who had been shot in the leg during the Battle for Okinawa. After his time in the Army, Delbert Belton went on to work for the next 30 Years at Kaiser Aluminum.
Denison had come to the lodge Wednesday for a game of pool, and was outside waiting for a friend because he didn't want her to walk home alone, Lillian Duncan told the Spokesman-Review newspaper. "He was so awesome," Duncan said. "Anybody that didn't get to know him missed out on a wonderful angel in their life."
Those reading the story of Delbert Belton's' brutal beating and death were touched and immediately took to Twitter to share their feeling of horror, shock and distain that such a horrific crime would occur. The force of tweeters was so strong that the hashtag #DelbertBelton began to trend heavily in the U.S. and continues to trend now as people offered their support and prayers for grieving loved ones, alongside outrage and questioning of how the incident would be handled.
My Dad is a 90 yr old WWII Vet~I can't comprehend the horror of the brutal murder of #DelbertBelton American hero. R.I.P.
This is what is wrong with the world. Instead of honoring a WWII veteran, 2 teens beat him to death. #DelbertBelton
I'm Retweeting every tweet with #DelbertBelton or Delbert Belton in it to get him trending. It's the least we can do.
#DelbertBelton God bless you and may you rest in peace.
#DelbertBelton rest with the angels in heaven tonight...your attackers will spend eternity chin deep in a burning lake of human excrement
My heart goes out to the family and to the soul of #DelbertBelton.
— brauerda (@brauerda) August 23, 2013