Local police in Washington State have released to the public the reason why an 88-year-old World War II veteran and Purple Heart recipient was murdered last week by two teens: According to CBS News, he fought back.
Adopted by many as America’s Grandpa, Delbert “Shorty” Belton was beaten to death in Spokane, Wash., in what police are calling a robbery gone wrong.
Spokane Police Chief Frank Straub said at a press conference, “Our information is that the individual fought back and that may have made this, you know, a worse situation.” Perhaps realizing he may have seemed guilty of sympathizing morewith the suspects in custody than the victim, Straub quickly added:
I’m not being critical of Mr. Belton. We certainly encourage individuals to fight back, and he should have. But it shouldn’t have happened to begin with.
Belton’s daughter-in-law stated that the 5-foot-tall victim was hit with “big heavy flashlights,” which — she was informed by doctors — resulted in “bleeding from all parts of his face.”
NBC affiliate WSMV noted that Belton’s body was eventually wedged between the two front seats of the car he was killed in. Doctors who worked in him reported that he had lost too much blood to survive.
The suspects in the murder, Kenan Adams-Kinard and Demetruis Glenn, both 16, have been charged with first-degree murder in the slaying of the combat vet. Both will be tried as adults.
Shorty took a bullet in 1945 when he and thousands of other young American men slugged it out with the Imperial Army in the bloodiest land battle of the Pacific Theater, the taking of the Japanese-held island of Okinawa.