A 16-year-old male was charged as an adult with first-degree murder Friday and a second was being sought in the robbery and death of an 88-year-old World War II veteran who was brutally beaten to death in Spokane, Wash.
Demetrius Glenn, accompanied by his lawyer, turned himself in to police Thursday night, police said. He will appear in court Monday on charges of first-degree murder and first-degree robbery in the savage assault Wednesday night on Delbert "Shorty" Belton, who was found wedged between the seats of his car in the parking lot of an Eagles lodge in North Spokane.
Belton suffered severe blunt force injuries to his head and torso and died Thursday morning in what the Spokane County medical examiner's office ruled was a homicide.
Police urged the public to help them find a second suspect, identified as Kenan D. Adams-Kinard, also 16, who they said was recorded on surveillance camera footage with Glenn on Wednesday night. They said Adams-Kinard should be considered extremely dangerous and that anyone spotting him should steer clear of him and call 911 immediately.
The suspects are black and Belton was white, but Spokane Police Chief Frank Straub said race didn't appear to be a factor in the attack.
"These are two individuals who for whatever reason went out on a given night to rob someone," Straub said. "They robbed him, they beat him and they killed him."
Belton's daughter-in-law, Barbara Belton, told NBC News that doctors said his face was battered so badly that they couldn't stop the bleeding.
"That was no way to have to die," she said. "They said even if he had survived, there probably would have been brain damage. It was horrendous."
She said her father-in-law wouldn't have been carrying more than $150 on him when he drove up to the Fraternal Order of Eagles Aerie #2.
"Who beats an 88-year-old man in the face?" she said.
At the lodge, a makeshift memorial overflowed with flowers, U.S. flags and messages of sympathy as friends remembered Belton as an active and generous man who had been widowed for about six years. A candlelight vigil was scheduled for 8:30 p.m. (11:30 p.m. ET) Friday at the lodge.
"He was outstanding," said Alberta Tosh, Belton's sister. "He went dancing. He worked on cars all the time. He would help anyone who needed help."
Linda Herde, a family friend, told NBC station KHQ of Spokane that Belton "had a heart of gold."
"There wasn't a thing he wouldn't do for anybody," she added. "He'd give you the shirt off his back."
Great-nephew Allen Hills told KHQ that when he hit bottom about 10 years ago in California — where he was unemployed and sleeping on his mother's sofa — Belton stepped in with the offer of a car and a new life in Washington.
"It seems trivial, but he really did save my life," Hills said. "He made it possible for me to get a job and find work."
Ted Denison, another friend, called Belton "a tough old bird" who was shot in the leg in the 1945 Battle of Okinawa. His experiences in the war didn't appear to have dampened Belton's instinct to help others, Denison said.
"He was always there any time I needed anything," Denison told KHQ.
Barbara Belton said Glenn, the suspected who's in custody, was "awfully young" to be involved in such a terrible crime.
"Kids today, they think they can do whatever they want and it doesn't matter. Kids do this kind of stuff and end up in jail and probably end up worse when they come out."
Belton died the same day another Spokane man was killed in a confrontation with police. On Friday, police were in a standoff with a gunman at a pawn shop.
Police said violent crime was down 2 percent over the previous year, and Straub called the death of Belton an anomaly.
"It is very, very infrequent in Spokane that we have a random act of violence," he said.