Brother of Brooklyn Cracker Barrel shooting victim Kate Allen suing restaurant chain

CLEVELAND - The brother of Kate Allen, who was shot and killed by her estranged husband, is suing Cracker Barrel.

On April 12, 2012, Kate Allen and her two daughters, Kayla and Kerri, met her husband at the restaurant on Tiedeman Road. The family was celebrating Kerri's 10th birthday.

Kate paid for dinner, then called 911 to report she was in fear of her husband. Police arrived on the scene, reported they spotted Kevin Allen driving and cleared bystanders. Soon after, Kevin Allen walked into Cracker Barrel with a shotgun.

The 51-year-old shot his wife in the chest and groin, the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigations said. He reloaded his gun, shot Kate Allen again, this time in the head, and then chased his two young daughters through the restaurant. Kerri, still wearing a birthday hat, suffered a gunshot wound to the abdomen. Kayla was shot twice and died about a month later.

According to court documents, Kate's brother, Carl Jindra, is seeking $125,000 for Cracker Barrel's lack of security. The five claims in the suit accuse the restaurant chain of negligence and negligent hiring, resulting in the wrongful death of three people and the following pain and suffering.

"Cracker Barrel was negligent by failing to safeguard its premises and protect its business invitees, including plaintiff's decedent and her two minor children, from the perpetrator, Kevin Allen's, known and foreseeable criminal shooting on its premises," the suit said.

[Read the lawsuit here: http://on.wews.com/1828paJ ]

Jindra's attorney, Terry Gilbert, released the following statement on the suit:

"This was a horrible tragedy that could have been prevented by personnel at Cracker Barrel that were told by Kate Allen that she feared her life was in danger and that she needed help. Manager said we don't get involved in domestic matters. She was left unprotected by the company and staff and left to fend for herself and her daughters. This could have been prevented and instead ended in a horrible tragedy. Restaurants have a duty to have a plan to keep customers safe in these types of situations."

Cracker Barrel spokeswoman Jeanne Ludington says the company cannot comment on the lawsuit, but it released the following written statement to NewsChannel 5 via email Friday:

"The tragic events that took place in our Brooklyn, Ohio Cracker Barrel Old Country Store in April 2012 deeply saddened the Allen family, the community, our employees, and our company.  Although we cannot comment on the lawsuit that was filed on October 10, 2013, we believe that in times of difficulty, families and communities come together and we are grateful to the Brooklyn community for their continued support and acts of kindness."

Kevin Allen was shot and killed by police after refusing to put down his gun.

A report from the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor's Office last fall determined the officers followed protocol and their actions were appropriate.

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