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100-year-old veteran dies after being assaulted in Longmont

A veteran just a few months shy of his 101st birthday died early Tuesday morning, two weeks after police and his family says he was attacked while out on a walk.

LONGMONT, Colo. — A man just a few months shy of his 101st birthday died early Tuesday morning, two weeks after police and his family said he was attacked while out on a walk.

The Longmont Police Department said officers responded on Oct. 25 to the 2200 block of Main Street for a reported assault. The victim, Kenneth Barhite, told a bystander he had been pushed from behind, causing him to fall into a parked car and then the ground, according to police.

Police are still searching for the person responsible for the assault.

The victim's daughter, Lydia Tafoya, said Barhite was taking a walk after dinner when he saw a man he didn't know sitting on a bench. Barhite said a quick hello, and the man shouted a racial slur, according to Tafoya. 

"The man hollered at my dad 'I hate the n-word,'" she said.

Barhite kept walking, and that's when, police said, he was jumped from behind. 

"The guy basically tackled him and then threw him onto the ground," Tafoya said. 

Tafoya said her dad suffered multiple bone fractures, and his condition got significantly worse over the past few days. He died early Tuesday morning.

"I took his hand and he squeezed it for one last time, that strong man, and told him that I loved him and it was OK to go," Tafoya said.  

According to Tafoya, her father served in the U.S. Army in the Philippines for four years during World War II. She described him as a loving father, grandfather, and great-grandfather who would do anything to help others. 

"And I got robbed," she said. "My dad got taken from me. He was a healthy man and he didn't get to go on his own terms. He was waiting for that 101st birthday party in January." 

Police said the victim described the suspect as a man wearing blue-checkered pants, and witnesses described seeing a man between 40 and 50 years old wearing black pants with blue squares in the general area.

Anyone with information is asked to contact police at 303-774-8933 and reference case number 21-8933.

RELATED: 93-year-old killed, rideshare driver and passenger injured in crash involving stolen car, Longmont Police say

Anyone with information can also contact Northern Colorado Crime Stoppers at info@nococrimestoppers.com or 1-800-222-8477. Tipsters can remain anonymous and may be eligible for a reward of up to $2,000. 

RELATED: 86-year-old woman at assisted living facility dies, 3 caregivers charged

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