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CRIME

Police: Ohio man kills wife, daughter at Cracker Barrel

A northeast Ohio man shot and killed his young daughter on her birthday and his wife, who had just told him she was leaving him, inside a crowded Cracker Barrel restaurant before being killed by police.

Kevin Allen fatally shot 42-year-old Katherina Allen and 10-year-old Kerri Allen and also wounded the couple's other 10-year-old daughter, Kayla, in the Thursday night shootings, the Brooklyn Police Department said. According to police records, Thursday was Kerri Allen's birthday.

Kayla Allen was in critical condition Friday, MetroHealth Medical Center spokeswoman Shannon Mortland said. She would not specify the extent of the girl's injuries.

Authorities said Katherina Allen had called 911 from inside the restaurant, saying her husband was upset because she told him she was leaving him. He left the restaurant and was circling the parking lot, she told police. She also told police she was fearful he may become violent.

Witnesses told police he then came back into the restaurant with a long gun and "selectively" fired on his family.

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 Allen when he refused to surrender. He died at the scene.

The restaurant is located in a busy commercial corridor in Brooklyn, Ohio, near Interstate 480 just south of Cleveland.

Little information is available about Kevin Allen. According to police, he was arrested in 1995 for domestic violence. He was also arrested for burglary and theft in 2008.

An eyewitness 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.