100-Year-Old World War II Veteran Dies After Being Attacked While Out on a Walk

Veteran dies after being attacked.
Ken Barhite. Lydia Tafoya/Facebook

Ken Barhite was attacked by a man who then ran away, Colorado police said.

A World War II veteran eagerly awaiting his 101st birthday party has died after being attacked while on his routine evening walk, his family and police said.

Ken Barhite, 100, was shoved and kicked on Oct. 25 as he strolled his Longmont neighborhood in Colorado, police said.

"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," Lydia Tafoya, Barhite's daughter, told KMGH-TV.

Police are looking for a suspect.

Barhite suffered multiple broken bones, his daughter said.

"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."

The elderly man told a bystander that a man shoved him from behind, causing him to the fall onto a parked car, and then into the street, police said.

He was rushed to a nearby hospital, where he appeared, for a time, to improve. On Tuesday, he succumbed to his injuries.

"Sadly, he lost that battle and went early this morning to be with the Lord, my mom and brother," his daughter posted on her Facebook page.

"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," Tafoya told the station. "That was the last breath he took. 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."

Her father was a "strong Iowa farm boy" who was drafted to fight World War II and served in the Philippines.

"He always wore his World War II hat when he walked," outside his retirement community, she said.

Before the attack, he had been in good health and was looking forward to a celebration in January for 101st birthday, she said.

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