A crowd of hundreds gathered to mourn murder victim Delbert ‘Shorty’ Belton in a Spokane funeral service said to include many military veterans, plenty of American flags, over 500 motor cycles and full military honors for the 5″ 5′ war hero who had been wounded at Okinawa.
Belton was laid to rest at Greenwood Cemetrary in Spokane.
“Dozens of American flags flew near his grave” as a vocalist sang “We’ll Meet Again” and a military honor guard fired volleys into the air to mark his passing. Though shot in the leg during his service to the country, Belton was said to have been quite the dancer all his life.
Pastor Homer Todd, who led the crowd in prayer for the service, said despite Belton’s age and declining health, he always made time to dance with friends at events in Spokane and Mead.
“There are a lot of gals that will miss having a partner at those events,” he said.
Belton served as an MP and a sharpshooter in the 102nd Infantry. Retired after being employed by the same aluminum company for 30 years, Belton enjoyed dancing, working on cars and watching wrestling. Born on Dec. 21, 1924, in Sunnyside, Wash., he earned the nickname “Shorty” while young and reportedly worked as a jockey and also cutting and selling firewood before enlisting in the Army in 1943.
Belton was beaten to death outside an Eagles Lodge in Spokane on Aug. 21, and two young men have been arrested in connection with his death. Demetruis L. Glenn and Kenan Adams-Kinard, both 16, are charged with first-degree murder and first-degree robbery.
Three other juvenile boys were also arrested and charged with helping the young men evade the police, authorities said.
Belton’s killing touched a nerve across the country, as many expressed outrage at the senseless beating death of a elderly veteran.