April 13, 2012
THOMAS J. SHEERAN
CLEVELAND — A man whose wife had just told him she was leaving him shot and killed her and their young daughter, who was celebrating her birthday, inside a crowded Cracker Barrel restaurant in a Cleveland suburb, then was killed by police as he fled.
Kevin Allen came into the restaurant in suburban Brooklyn on Thursday night with a shotgun and, witnesses said, “selectively” fired on his family. The shooting created panic and confusion in the restaurant, and a manager helped get people out through a rear door, a witness said.
In addition to the death of Katherina Allen, 42, and Kerri Allen, 10, the couple’s other 10-year-old daughter, Kayla, was wounded and in critical condition, authorities said. According to police records, Thursday was Kerri Allen’s birthday.
The restaurant is in a busy commercial corridor near Interstate 480 just south of Cleveland.
Katherina had called 911 from inside, saying her husband was upset because she had told him she was leaving him. He left the restaurant and was circling the parking lot, she told police. She also told police she feared he might become violent.
“I’m having some spouse problems,” Katherina Allen tells the dispatcher in the 911 call.
She told the dispatcher that her husband had said he’d gotten rid of a shotgun, but that she’d seen him with shotgun shells. She also told the dispatcher that Kevin Allen was calling one of her daughters in the restaurant.
At the end of the call, Allen says, “He’s here and the police are here, too. I have to_”. She then stops speaking.
The dispatcher says, “Wait in the lobby for the officers. Do not go outside. Let them talk to him, OK? Ma’am?” The call then ends in a jumble of noise.
Officers heard gunshots when they arrived and saw Allen, 51, of Strongsville, leaving the restaurant with a gun. Police Chief Scott Mielke said officers shot him when he refused to surrender. He died at the scene.
David Allen, who identified himself as Kevin Allen’s brother, answered a number listed for Kevin Allen’s mother and said the family had no comment.
According to police, Kevin Allen was arrested in 1995 for domestic violence. He was also arrested for burglary and theft in 2008.
Documents filed by Kevin and Katherina Allen in federal bankruptcy court in Cleveland last year indicate they owed $60,000 to various creditors, including a $20,000 hospital bill. Other creditors included several credit card companies and two other hospitals. The filing was closed March 28.
Records also show that Kevin Allen filed for bankruptcy in 1991 and 2004, and that Katherina Allen filed for bankruptcy in 2000.
Other court records show Kevin Allen has an adult daughter from a previous marriage that ended in 1995.
Someone inside the restaurant, Robert Lovelace, told WKYC-TV that the shooting scene was chaotic.
“We all ran,” Lovelace said. He said people in the restaurant didn’t know what was happening. “We just told them, ‘Look, let’s get out of here,’” he said.
The manager helped move people to safety through a rear door, the company said.
The restaurant will remain closed until the investigation is completed, Cracker Barrel spokeswoman Julie K. Davis said in an email from corporate offices in Lebanon, Tenn.
“This appears to be the result of a domestic dispute between two guests and no Cracker Barrel employees were involved,” she said.