Spokane police have announced the arrest of one suspect in the fatal beating of Delbert “Shorty” Belton; a crime that has gained national headlines, incited public fury, and apparently even gotten the attention of actor James Woods.
Meanwhile, in an effort to promote public safety, the Puget Sound Business Journal reports that Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense is going to boycott Starbucks coffee shops Saturday because those establishments serve legally-armed citizens. To many, this appears to be an empty gesture designed only to generate a headline when a far more compelling story is unfolding across the Inland Northwest.
Which effort will be of more benefit, tracking down and jailing the thugs who killed Belton, or discriminating against law-abiding gun owners, who haven’t killed anybody?
According to Spokane’s KREM, police now have a teen identified as Demetrius Glenn in custody. The other suspect remains at large at this writing but that could change quickly. KIRO radio reported that Glenn is 16. This column will update with any new information on the case.
UPDATE: The second suspect in this case is identified as Kenan D. Adams-Kinard. According to the Spokane Spokesman-Review, he has a "violent" criminal record that includes third-degree theft and fourth-degree assault convictions in June. Glenn, the teen now in custody, has a record that includes fourth-degree assault and pending charges of mischievous mischief and driving on a suspended license. Police are advising the public not to confront him but to call police if he is spotted.
Mr. Belton, a WWII veteran who was wounded in the battle of Okinawa, was a Spokane native, according to KVI’s John Carlson, who spent much of Friday morning’s drive time program talking about this case. Yesterday’s column on this slaying has elicited heated, even visceral reactions from readers. Likewise, readers of the Seattle Times have sharply divided opinions, but not so much over at the Seattle P-I.com.
Belton was brutally attacked Wednesday evening in the parking lot outside of the Eagles Lodge in north Spokane. He suffered extensive head injuries and died Thursday morning. Reports say he may have been beaten with heavy flashlights. A Facebook page calling for justice has been created.
The crime was an overnight headliner on the Drudge Report and on Fox News and other cable networks. Robbery may have been the motive, but the savageness of the beating has shocked and outraged people in Spokane and across the nation.
According to the Spokesman Review, Belton’s friends are remembering him as a man who would do anything for anybody. Like other combat veterans, the newspaper noted that he “was reticent to talk about the war when he returned.” War is not something genuine heroes discuss, and so it appears this was how the 88-year-old Belton was typical of “the greatest generation.”
The attack occurred at about 8 p.m. Wednesday night, and surveillance cameras at a nearby store captured images of both suspects, described as black young men aged 16-19 years, and it appears Glenn, the suspect now in custody, fits the description.
As for the Moms Demand Action, gun owners singled out for discrimination – as they were earlier this week by Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn and Washington CeaseFire – might justifiably start asking about whether the anti-gun group’s energies might better be spent demanding justice for the killers of Shorty Belton.
Or is it easier and more politically correct, as members of the Open Carry/Washington forum are hinting, to direct public angst at people who think the proper response to a flashlight attack would be legally-carried defensive handgun?