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Random attack in Spokane leaves WWII veteran dead

By Nicholas K. Geranios

Associated Press


SPOKANE, Wash. » Delbert Belton survived the battle of Okinawa, but he lost his life this week in the parking lot of an Eagles Lodge in north Spokane.

Spokane police were still looking for one of two teens suspected in the beating death of the 88-year-old World War II veteran.

Police believe the two 16-year-old boys approached Belton in his car at random Wednesday night outside an Eagles Lodge as he was waiting for a friend.

Officers found Belton with serious head injuries, and he died in the hospital Thursday.

One of the teens surrendered to authorities Thursday night, and he was being held on charges of robbery and first-degree murder. His identity has not been released because he is a juvenile.

Police Chief Frank Straub identified the suspect still at large Friday as Kenan D. Adams-Kinard. Even though he is a juvenile, his name and photo were released because he remains a danger to the community, Straub said.

The Associated Press doesn't usually name juvenile suspects but is identifying Adams-Kinard because of the manhunt.

"We are asking the community's assistance to locate him," Straub said. "We are asking Mr. Kinard to surrender immediately.

"He displayed very aggressive and violent conduct with his assault of Mr. Belton," Straub said, adding that he believed the arrest of the second suspect was imminent.

Both teens have juvenile court records and past convictions for assault, Straub said.

Belton's death has struck a chord nationally and sparked outrage on social media.

"He fought for this country," said Belton's sister, Alberta Tosh, on Friday. "Then he comes home and a couple of creeps kill him in the worst way."

Straub said there was no information that the attack was motivated by anything other than robbery. Police were offering no details about the crime itself, including what was taken, if anything.

"I don't really care what their motive was," Straub added. "We are not going to tolerate this." Such random attacks are rare in Spokane, a city of 210,000 people in eastern Washington, Straub said.

Straub also offered his condolences to Belton's family.

"He is a World War II veteran who suffered injuries in Okinawa," Straub said. "The Spokane Police Department has been working tirelessly to identify and apprehend the suspects."

Belton was born and raised in Spokane and joined the Army during World War II. His sister said he was shot in the leg on Okinawa, site of one of the fiercest battles of the war in 1945.

"He was shell-shocked real bad," said Tosh, 78. "But it got better."

After the war, he spent 33 years working for Kaiser Aluminum before retiring in 1982.

In retirement, Belton loved to dance, play pool and repair old cars, family members said.

"He was very active and everybody liked him," said niece Pam Hansen. "He'd never think about harming another person."

Belton was called Shorty by his friends because he was little more than 5 feet tall, Hansen said.

She believes he was targeted by the assailants because of his age and size.

"He was defenseless," Hansen said.

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South76 wrote:
It's amazing A. Sharpton and J. Jackson are silent on this senseless killing of a WWII veteran. Another thing is the media ran this event for a short period....if the victim was of colored person, they would have called it racist attack and the media would have had a field day and run this event for days and weeks until there is march and protest out on the streets.
on August 24,2013 | 03:04AM
kailua000 wrote:
no mention of them being black youths. If it were the other way around, it would have been racially motivated. I thought our "white-african american' president was supposed to unite this country. its more divided than ever. ..I call him 'white- african american' because MSNBC and other choose to call zimmerman "white-hispanic'. when ever its a person of color doing something good he's of that nationality. when they do something bad now they are 'white-whatever' press does this just to cause more controversy. what amazes me is now some wont post photos of the thugs because of their color when crimes are happening. in NJ last week there was a black on white crime and they wanted the public's help finding them but it was never mentioned they were black. this country is going down hill fast
on August 24,2013 | 03:43AM
peanutgallery wrote:
You won't hear Obama talking about this one. As a matter of fact, he'll do anything he can to avoid it.
on August 24,2013 | 04:53AM
allie wrote:
Obama is a gutless, failed president who has failed to lead this nation. Liberals dislike his cowardice. What a total bust.
on August 24,2013 | 07:55AM
palani wrote:
Yes, here's that media bias again.

Two teenage punks beating an 88 year old veteran to death. What cowards they must be. Lucky there were two of them, else the outcome might have been very different.

on August 24,2013 | 06:02AM
allie wrote:
Black youths are often a plague to communities. Sorry but until the black community gets honest about its own guilt for its own behavior we don't have an honest public dialogue about crime.
on August 24,2013 | 07:53AM
paradiddle wrote:
Hmmm....2 black teens attack and murder an 88 year old white man. Nope, nothing racial here.... move along folks. Wonder if Obama expresses his "outrage" about the senseless murder of a WW2 vet who was wounded in battle because the POTUS is the "Commander in Chief" and that the victim..." could have been his grandfather"! Nah....won't happen. ALSO, why do you think most news media neglects to identify the 2 suspects as being black???? Now it were the other way around. C'mon, admit it.
on August 24,2013 | 08:29AM
serious wrote:
paradiddle, you are correct, they were on the TV news this morning, at least one of them, I think it could have been Obama's son. HE is too busy grandstanding. I think of him as a vaudeville entertainer, well past his prime, who now goes to the little towns where his name is known and gets the handshakes and roars from the crowds.
on August 24,2013 | 08:55AM
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