LONGMONT, Colo. — Police in Longmont say a 100-year-old World War II veteran who was attacked last month died from his injuries Tuesday. The suspect remains at large.
The man, identified by his daughter as Ken Barhite, was in the 2200 block of Main Street on Oct. 25, out on a routine evening walk when the attack occurred, according to the Longmont Police Department.
"There was a homeless guy on the bench, and being the loving Christian that my dad was, he said hello to the man and that evidently set him off," said Lydia Tafoya, Barhite's daughter.
Police said Barhite told a bystander that a man pushed him from behind and he fell into a parked car, then to the ground. Tafoya said her father sustained five fractures.
"Two pelvic fractures, lower back fracture, and a compound fracture of the spine," she said. "I guess the guy did a football tackle. He got shoved and he hit the ground, and [the suspect] kicked him when he was down and ran off."
Barhite was transported to the hospital after the attack, where Tafoya said her father was improving at one point, but the trauma of the incident was just too much for the elderly veteran.
"I put my hand on his and squeezed it real tight for the last time. I told him I loved him, 'go be with mom,' and then said goodbye. That was the last breath he took," said Tafoya. "I realize that at 100, I knew my dad would go, but I thought it would be on his terms. He got robbed. This wasn’t on his terms."
Barhite, who had limited eyesight, described the suspect as wearing pants with a blue checkered pattern on them.
Police did not release a description of the suspect but said a witness had seen a man between the ages 40-55 years old, wearing black pants with blue squares in the general area.
Tafoya described her father as a "strong Iowa farm boy" who was drafted to fight for our freedom in World War II.
"He always wore his World War II hat when he walked," said Tafoya.
She said Barhite was a loving and charitable man who donated his time and money to several causes.
He was also a forgiving man, but she said justice needs to be served to protect others like Barhite who reside in Longmont Regent, a retirement community where Barhite lived.
"I want the guy found for peace of mind of the residents at the Regent, and I also want some kind of justification that my dad lost his life for," she said. "If it’s to get that guy help... that’s what my dad would want. That’s what needs to be done."
Longmont police are asking anyone who may have video of this incident or was a witness to call detective Clark at 303-774-4392.
The cause and manner of his death will be determined by the Boulder County Coroner’s Office at a later time, but on Thursday, they confirmed the man's identify.