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Man Who Shot Family Was Quiet, Neighbors Say

Wife went to Strongsville police two days earlier about domestic situation

Neighbors on Shurmer Road said they didn't know Kevin Allen well.

"He was just quiet," said Joe Muraski, who lives across the street. "He'd mow the lawn and the next time you'd see him was a week later, when it was time to mow the lawn again."

Brooklyn Police say Allen, 51, shot his wife, Katherina, 42, and their daughters Kerri and Kayla, Thursday night at Cracker Barrel in Brooklyn, killing two of them and injuring one, because of brewing domestic problems

Kevin Allen was shot and killed by police as he left the restaurant.

Strongsville police said Katherina, who went by Kate, had come to the police station on April 10, two days earlier, for an escort to her house at 16867 Shurmer Rd.

She told officers she had taken her two daughters and left to stay with a friend after an incident on Sunday, April 8, but wanted to return to the house to get some belongings, according to Detective Lt. John Janowski.

She said her husband had threatened to "keep the kids" if she came back.

Kate "stated that she had not been getting along with her husband and decided to take the kids and stay with a friend," the report said. 

She later decided not to return with police officers to get her belongings "because it would make him mad."

"She wanted it documented that they have been getting into verbal altercations," the report noted.

Kate and Kerri, who was celebrating her 10th birthday, were killed at the restaurant Thursday night, while Kayla, who turned 10 last June, was taken to MetroHealth Medical Center with unspecified injuries, according to Brooklyn Police Chief Scott Mielke.

Kate, whose maiden name was Jindra, grew up in the house on Shurmer and graduated from Strongsville High School.

"The girls were very nice," said Irene Bendzuck, who lives across the street. "They were very friendly."

Kate called police from the restaurant about 8:40 p.m. to say she felt threatened by her husband because she had just told him she was leaving him. Kevin Allen had left the restaurant and was circling the parking lot.

In Thursday night, Kate can be heard saying she did not know if her husband owned a gun. 

"I know he had a shotgun . . . but he said he got rid of it," she said.

The call ends with Kate saying police had arrived and telling her daughters not to go outside.

Moments later, Kevin Allen entered the restaurant with a long gun, walked up to his family and shot them at close range.

Mielke said officers heard shots fired in the restaurant and encountered Kevin Allen as he was walking out.

When he failed to comply with orders to drop the weapon, he was shot and killed by police.

The neighbors said Kate suffered serious leg injuries in an accident about five years ago when a car backed over her, pinning her in the wall of a building.

Bendzuck said she often watched the girls while their mother was in physical therapy. 

She said she believes Kate worked days managing a pizza restaurant in Beachwood, while her husband worked odd hours. 

"They worked at different times. It seems like they were never home at the same time," she said.

The couple recently emerged from bankruptcy. They had reportedly owed $60,000 to various creditors, including at least $20,000 in hospital bills.

Muraski, whose daughter went to school with Kate, said he was "shaky" today after learning the news.

"The kids waved to me every morning," he said. "They used to come over all the time. They were friendly and outgoing."

• Police have released the 911 tape Kate Allen made moments before she was killed. .

• Like Strongsville Patch on Facebook for updates on this story and all other Strongsville police, business and community news.


Nancy Briscar Martel April 16, 2012 at 12:22 PM
This is so unbelievably sad.
Paul Summers April 24, 2012 at 09:36 PM
Sad is a much too mild expression. Grief is closer. The shooter and the victims are each related to me. Kevin's mother is my cousin. She and her husband are indeed stricken. They lost a son, a daughter-in-law and a precious granddaughter with another granddaughter st risk. I can't imagine a worse scenario. Although we live in Rogersville, MO and were not in contact with the Ohio family it has hit is hard too. I shed tears and still choke up. That poor girl (Kayla)! What does/will she recall? What will her life be? Only the Lord can really help her and her survivors. If the reader is on praying grounds, please exercise that privilege! Thanks.
Nancy Briscar Martel April 25, 2012 at 03:53 AM
I cannot begin to fathom what your family is going through, Paul. Please know that Kayla, and your entire family are in my prayers.

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