In June 1995, the day he received word that he and his first wife were divorced, 35-year-old Kevin E. Allen assaulted his girlfriend, Janice Koerlin. A few months later, the diagnosed manic-depressive from Kirtland, Ohio, a town 20 miles east of Cleveland, married Koerlin. In September of that year, police arrested Allen after he tried to suffocate his new wife with a pillow. This was a man who obvioulsy had no business being around women. This was a man who needed to be locked up.
In 2004, Allen filed for personal bankruptcy for the second time. (He had filed for bankruptcy in 1991.) Four years later, the police in North Royalton, Ohio arrested him, now married to his third wife with whom he had fathered two daughters, on charges of theft and burglary. This man was not only an abuser of women, he was a deadbeat, and a thief. (If Allen was found guilty and sentenced to prison on these charges, there is no record of it.) Kevin Allen, by any standard, was a loser. He was also violent. These traits combined to make him a dangerous person. With people like this, all the psychologists and anger management programs in the world are useless.
In March 2011, Kevin and his third wife Katherina, who went by Kate and was ten years younger than him, lived in Strongsville, Ohio with their daughters Kerri and Kayla. That year Kevin and Kate filed for personal bankruptcy. They were in debt $60,000. Although Kevin Allen, with his short, thinning gray hair, and his trimmed white beard, looked like a friendly guy, continued to be a bellicose, bad-tempered husband. People went out of their way to avoid him. In 2011, Allen went several months without paying his gas bill, and threatened to shoot anybody from the utility company who came to his place to shut if off. A gas company employee did go to the house, but with a police escort.
In early April 2012, the domestic abuse had gotten so intense and frequent, Kate and the girls moved into a friend's house. On April 12, Kate decided to take Kerri and Kayla to the Cracker Barrel restaurant in nearby Brooklyn, Ohio to celebrate Kerri Allen's tenth birthday. Kate had invited her estranged husband, and in the relative safety of a crowded restaurant, would inform Kevin that she wanted a divorce.
After the late dinner, while still at the Cracker Barrel, Kate broke the news that she was leaving him. Infuriated, Kevin stormed out of the restaurant, but instead of driving home, he circled the parking lot in his silver Jeep Liberty. Worried that Kevin might become violent, Kate, at 8:40, called 911. "I'm having some spouse problems," she said.
Kate informed the 911 dispatcher that she had just told her estranged husband that she was leaving him, and he hadn't taken it very well. At that moment, he was outside the Cracker Barrel driving around the parking lot. A few minutes later, as Kate spoke to the 911 dispatcher, Kevin re-entered the restaurant and approached her and the children carrying a single barrel shotgun. The local police rolled up to the scene just as Kevin disappeared inside the building.
The police officers, aware that Kevin Allen had gone into the restaurant armed with a shotgun, decided to remain outside. They were afraid that if they went in after him, innocent bystanders could get shot in the cross-fire. The police were also worried that Allen, if confronted inside, might take a hostage.
When Kevin Allen got to the table, without saying a word, he aimed his shotgun and blasted his wife and two children. Kate, when Kevin walked into the restaurant, was still on the phone with the 911 dispatcher. Their conversation, at this point, went like this:
DISPATCHER: "Wait in the lobby for the officers. Do not go outside. Let them talk to him, okay? "
KATE: "He's here and the police are here, too. I have to...." (Gunfire could be heard on the dispatcher's end.)
After murdering his wife and his daughter Kerri, and seriously wounding Kayla, Allen walked out the front door of the restaurant where he encountered the police. When he refused to drop his shotgun, the police opened fire, killing him on the spot.
When Kevin Allen strode into the Cracker Barrel carrying the shotgun, bedlam broke out with patrons running for cover. The manager helped many diners exit the place through a rear door. None of the customers were injured.
Medics rushed Kayla to a nearby hospital where she was in critical condition. Some people have criticized the officers for not immediately entering the restaurant. But it was a difficult dilemma, and had they gone it, more people could have been killed. There is only so much the police can do. They cannot always save families from abusive, murderous husbands. There was no escaping Kevin Allen.