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IHOP diners hid under tables as bullets flew

Posted October 11, 2011

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— Two women told WRAL News that gunfire started at a Durham IHOP on Saturday after a group of customers was told they could not sit in a closed-off section of the restaurant.

The women, who asked that their names not be released, said some members of the group were upset and about five minutes later a man opened fire.

The women hid under booths as bullets flew through the restaurant at 1821 North Pointe Drive.

"You don't really know what to do. It's just good instinct to just get down on the floor," one witness said.

Police said that two off-duty Durham County sheriff's deputies working at the IHOP had asked the man, who had been arguing, to leave the restaurant around 3:25 a.m., shortly before he returned and opened fire, killing Delia Allen, 46, and injuring another man.

The unidentified shooter fled from the scene. Investigators have only a very general description of him.

Neither of the witnesses got a good look at the shooter, but said they believe police knew who the man was because he was familiar to the restaurant.

Allen's family said the gunman was aiming at deputies when she was shot, but Durham Police Chief Jose Lopez said Monday that the circumstances of what happened are still under investigation and that there is a lot of speculation right now.

Allen's family said she was the youngest of 14 children. The single mother always put her family first, they said.

"I constantly would hear her say she just wanted her life to matter, and I want her life to matter," Allen's niece, Freda Silver, said.

Delia Allen Family remembers IHOP shooting victim

Witnesses said there were between 30 and 40 people in the restaurant at the time of the shooting. Police said the man hit by a bullet was not seriously injured. Another person was treated at the scene for a small laceration.

Anyone with information that could help can call 919-560-4440, ext. 29337, or Crime Stoppers at 919-683-1200. Crime Stoppers pays cash rewards for information leading to arrests in felony cases, and callers never have to identify themselves.

The IHOP is offering a $2,500 reward for information leading to a conviction.

75 Comments

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  • st295x98 Oct 12, 2011

    "Investigators have only a very general description of him."
    NOT TRUE. They have his name and a mugshot of this man. why they are not releasing it to the public is the question.

  • thepeopleschamp Oct 12, 2011

    "If one of the deputies had been shot there would have been a massive man hunt with helicopters and sharp shooters. It is just amazing how all of lifes important resources seem to be reserved for the rich and famous." eyeoneastsky

    Deputies are "the rich & famous"?

  • eyeoneastsky Oct 12, 2011

    If one of the deputies had been shot there would have been a massive man hunt with helicopters and sharp shooters. It is just amazing how all of lifes important resources seem to be reserved for the rich and famous.

  • thepeopleschamp Oct 12, 2011

    "Someone getting THAT agitated over being told that he can’t sit in the closed section might warrant some extra awareness after being told to leave." Classified

    He did leave, and returned, shooting from the outside of the business inside. What you are describing that law enforcement should have done is not situational awareness, you are describing mind reading. Nowhere has anyone claimed the deputies "couldn't" give a description, they have consistently asked for others to also provide a description.

  • hunter38 Oct 12, 2011

    Classified: I ask you..have you ever been shot at?? Have you ever been in a very high stress situation involving death?? My guess probably not...you probably sit in a cubical all day. It has been PROVEN that when people have been exposed to high stress situations i.e. getting shot at...the memory loses some of what it retained....ask bank tellers. Many bank tellers have completely forgotten what the suspect looked like after a violent bank robbery i.e. shots fired or even worse. But I guess you are the Monday morning quarterback that learns everything from Hollywod cop shows and fairy tales so Im wasting my time with you.

  • Red Green Oct 12, 2011

    "It only takes a few seconds to empty a gun into the restaurant, by the time you realize what's going on and where it might be coming from the guy was probably long gone."

    If I was in law enforcement I think I might have had a sneaking suspicion that “what’s going on” might involve the person told to leave. Someone getting THAT agitated over being told that he can’t sit in the closed section might warrant some extra awareness after being told to leave. So much for situational awareness. They just kicked him out and didn't pay him any more attention. Heck, they couldn't even give an accurate description! It sure doesn’t sound like they’re heads were into it that night.

  • NcNativeRaleigh Oct 12, 2011

    Welcome to the jungle......Durham, City of breeding ,bleeding and blaming.

  • Red Green Oct 12, 2011

    "I wish people would try using a little common sense instead of logic sometimes." - hunter38

    What?

  • Big Daddy Cain Oct 12, 2011

    30-40 people in the restaurant at 3:30 AM??

    30-40 people in an IHOP in a college town or just off the interstate exit at that time is not strange

  • seankelly15 Oct 12, 2011

    rickandlinda88 - "I have been to this ihop many times.but never again will i go there.late at night/early morning;many;many unsavory groups tend to gather there.now this!horrible!did durham's deputies hide and cower also??shame,shame.find this "person"and put him away..before he kills some else.also the group with him.some is hiding and keeping this low life.lock them up to!!prayers to the people there and family of the murdered woman.i'm an allen also..could be kin."

    i.m;surprised;that.u.could.find your car keys; to drive there.

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