Local News

Durham man arrested in fatal IHOP shooting

Posted October 13, 2011 5:48 a.m. EDT
Updated October 13, 2011 6:06 p.m. EDT

— Police arrested a 21-year-old man late Wednesday in connection with a shooting last Saturday at an IHOP restaurant in Durham that killed a 46-year-old woman.

Jerry Lee Adams, of 200 Seven Oaks Road, faces a murder charge in the death of Delia Allen. He was also charged with two counts of assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill inflicting serious injury.

Adams went to police headquarters for an interview Wednesday night and was arrested a short time later, Police Chief Jose Lopez said.

Two off-duty Durham County deputies working at the IHOP, at 1821 North Pointe Drive, told a group of people that they couldn't sit in a closed-off section of the restaurant, which was crowded with 30 to 40 people, police said.

One man left willingly but then returned to the restaurant a short time later and opened fire, killing Allen, police said. A 24-year-old man was grazed in the hand by a bullet, and another person was treated at the scene for a small laceration.

Allen's family said the gunman was aiming at deputies when she was shot, but police have not confirmed that.

"We don't know exactly who it was towards or why. We are still searching for the motive," Lopez said, adding that investigators are still trying to determine whether anyone else was involved.

"This was a major event that happened. It unfolded quickly, but it unfolded in a big way," he said. "We have to really look at all the different aspects of it and all the different possibilities."

A combination of community tips information from witnesses helped identify Adams as a suspect, police spokeswoman Kammie Michael said.

He was denied bond at a court hearing Thursday and will next appear in court Oct. 17.

Adams has served probation for five misdemeanor convictions, including drug charges, according to state Department of Correction records. Court records show he recently failed to appear in court on misdemeanor drug and traffic charges. Previous charges of trespassing and assault against him were voluntarily dismissed.

Allen's family said she was the youngest of 14 children and the single mother of a 21-year-old daughter. She worked part-time at the Durham YMCA and as a healthy social behaviors specialist at Child Care Services Association in Chapel Hill.

"Delia's hope was that all young children could learn the skills to solve problems peacefully, so that they could grow up to be adults who would contribute positively to their families and their communities," CCSA president Sue Russell said in a statement Wednesday.

In her memory, the nonprofit has created the Delia Allen Early Childhood Education Fund on Teaching Non-Violence.

Allen's niece, Freda Silver, remembered her as a giving woman, active in the Triangle Church of Christ.

"She loves her family. She loves her daughter. She loves her church family. She loves God," Silver said. "If I could say one thing to the public, it would be to love your family, to treasure them and to cherish every moment you have with them because the next moment is not promised."

Visitation for Allen will be held 7-9 p.m. Thursday at Boyd's Funeral Services, 149 Holland Bland Road in Warrenton. Her funeral service will be held at the Triangle Church of Christ, 5510 Barbee Chapel Hill Road in Chapel Hill, at 11 a.m. Friday.

Relatives said earlier this week that they hoped an arrest would be made before Allen's funeral.

"Sometimes you just have your moments where you can't go on for a minute, then God somehow steps in and keeps you going. And that's the only thing you can look for," her brother, Viselle Edwards, said.

Silver, who was raised by Allen, said she would carry on her aunt's memory.

"I constantly would hear her say she just wanted her life to matter, and I want her life to matter," Silver said.