Cracker Barrel Patron: ‘He Just Came in and Pointed’

Posted on: 9:36 pm, April 12, 2012, by , updated on: 11:12pm, April 13, 2012

BROOKLYN, Ohio — A Strongsville man was killed by police after he shot and killed his wife and youngest daughter on the eve of her 10th birthday.

Brooklyn police say 51-year-old Kevin Allen also shot and wounded his other 10-year-old daughter, Kayla, who remains at MetroHealth Medical Center. As of Friday evening, she was listed in critical condition.

According to investigators, just before 9 p.m. Thursday,  Allen gunned down his 42-year-old wife, Katherina (Kate), and his daughter, Kerri, at the Cracker Barrel restaurant on Tiedeman Road in Brooklyn. Police say the mother and her children went out to eat to celebrate Kerri’s birthday.

Brooklyn Police Chief Scott Mielke tells Fox 8 News that it started with a 911 call at approximately 8:40 p.m. Kate, calling from inside the Cracker Barrel explained the situation to the dispatcher. Kate said she had just told Kevin that she was leaving him, and he was not taking the news well. She added that her husband was in his car, circling the parking lot.

When officers arrived, they heard shots from inside the restaurant before encountering Kevin, who was walking out with a “long gun.” They ordered him to surrender, but he refused to comply. That’s when Kevin was shot and killed by officers, Mielke said.

Workers and patrons at the restaurant were left horrified.

Customer Robert Lovelac said Allen was standing just a few away from him when he pulled the trigger. “He didn’t say a word. He just came in and pointed. We could see the fire come out the barrel and then we all just ran.”

“I was in the middle dining room pouring coffee when I heard the shots. We heard screams first,” said employee Norma Washington.

Tony Esposito said he inside the restaurant with his wife and grandchildren when panic turned to chaos.

“I grabbed the little 2-year-old, (my wife) grabbed the 8-year-old, and we ran. We just kept running,” said Esposito. “This is something that’s going to take a while to comprehend what happened.”

On Friday, Jeanne Ludington, Corporate Communications Manager for Cracker Barrel Old Country Store, Inc., released the following statement:

“Our thoughts and prayers go out to the victims and the family of those killed and injured in this tragic incident at our Brooklyn, Ohio store. Cracker Barrel is fully cooperating with local police in their investigation and, for the time being, our store will remain closed until the investigation is complete and we are able to repair any damage. This appears to be the result of a domestic dispute amongst two guests and no Cracker Barrel employees were involved. We are grateful to the police for their quick response and to our store manager for his efforts to protect our guests and employees by escorting them out the back of the store and out of harm’s way. The safety of our guests and our employees is our top priority, and a team of senior Cracker Barrel executives has arrived at the store to provide support to our local employees and to assist authorities in any way necessary.”

Kevin Allen had two previous run-ins with the law. He was arrested in 1995 for domestic violence and then for burglary 13 years later.

Stick with Fox 8 News and FOX8.com for more information on this story as it becomes available.

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