Local News

IHOP diners hid under tables as bullets flew

Posted October 11, 2011 3:34 p.m. EDT
Updated October 11, 2011 6:19 p.m. EDT

— 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.

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.