Vigil Held for Cracker Barrel Shooting Victims

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STRONGSVILLE, Ohio -- It's been exactly one year since a man gunned down his estranged wife and two daughters inside a local Cracker Barrel Restaurant.

One year later, the pain is still strong.

Friday night, a vigil was held to remember the victims near a Strongsville playground.

The family was gunned down inside the Brooklyn Cracker Barrel Restaurant last April 12.

"She really loved those girls, and they were everything to her, that was fantastic," said Carl Jindra, the victims' brother and uncle.

Kate Allen's estranged husband, Kevin, 51, had met her and his daughters, 10-year-olds Kayla and Kerri, for a birthday dinner to celebrate Kerri's tenth birthday.

Police said Kate told him she was leaving him, and he left and returned with a shotgun, shooting all three inside the restaurant.

Kevin Allen was later shot and killed by police. Kate and Kerri were killed. Kayla hung on another month.

Kevin Allen was later shot and killed by Brooklyn police after officers said he pointed his weapon at them.

"They're together, it's a struggle every day, we miss them, we had a very special bond with Kayla because we grew a lot with her and had to take care of her. I think Kate would have been very happy with how we took care of her," said Michelle Jindra, the victims' sister-in-law and aunt.

The vigil was held near the playground in Strongsville where Kayla and Kerri loved to play. There is now a memorial bench in front of it, dedicated to the girls and their mother.

"This was their favorite place to play, and some of their ashes are here. They're all here: Kate, Kerri, Kayla, their ashes are here," said Carl Jindra.

The girls' dog, Sophie, was also brought to the vigil. Kayla's best friends showed up with shirts they made. The four girls said at school they were known as the GEAK Squad.

"The G stands for Grace, the E stands for Emilie, the A stands for Allison and then the K stands for Kayla," explained Grace Roman.

People attending the vigil said this is a time to celebrate their lives rather than remember their deaths.

"I just don't want to be sad. I'm just trying to stay positive and remember all the good memories," said Roman.

"I'm glad that they're in heaven with their mom, her sister, and I'm trying not to think about what exactly happened, but they're all happy now," said Emillie Boyd.

"I just don't want to think about what happened, but I just want to remember all the things she did. She was always laughing," said Allison Thomas.

For extended coverage on this story, click here.

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