CLEVELAND (AP) — A man whose wife had just told him she was leaving him shot and killed her and one of their daughters, 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.
Police records dating back nearly 20 years painted a picture of Kevin Allen, married at least three times, as a violent man with a history of threatening wives and others. Just two days earlier, Katherina told police in their hometown of Strongsville that she had left her husband and taken their daughters after "an incident" on Easter and was afraid to go home to collect their belongings.
Katherina Allen "stated that she has not been getting along with her husband and decided to take the kids and stay with a friend," according to the Tuesday police report.
"Initially she wanted to pick up some items from the house, but decided not to because it would make him mad if police responded," the report said, adding that Katherina wanted to document "verbal altercations" the couple had been having.
Katherina called 911 from inside the restaurant Thursday, 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.
The dispatcher then asks her if Kevin Allen owns any weapons or is armed. She says her husband had told her he'd gotten rid of a shotgun, but she had 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.
Katherina Allen died from shotgun wounds to her head and body, and Kerri Allen died of a shotgun wound to the abdomen, according to the Cuyahoga County Medical Examiner.
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