Police arrived at a suburban restaurant before a gunman fired the shots that killed his wife two weeks ago, but the officers stayed outside for at least three minutes, as he proceeded to fire at his daughters, critically wounding one and killing the other.
The officers fatally shot Kevin Allen as he exited the Cracker Barrel Country Store restaurant on Tiedeman Road in Brooklyn, still armed with the 12-gauge shotgun he used to shoot his family.
Whether the officers should have waited is now a matter of debate.
One expert in police tactics said the officers should have immediately stormed the restaurant. But Brooklyn Police Chief Scott Mielke said his officers followed department procedures.
Mielke said the officers appropriately used the minutes to clear a disabled bystander and were about charge the restaurant when Allen appeared in the doorway, and refused to drop his weapon.
"The officer has to make the safest and most tactical approach," he said. "A dead officer on the scene does nobody any good."
One officer had arrived as Allen was driving through the parking lot. The officer drove around the back of the building to cut him off, Mielke said. But Allen had stopped and exited the Jeep.
"His truck is empty. I don't know where he went," the officer said in a radio transmission.
Frantic patrons fleeing the restaurant told the officer a gunman was shooting. A second officer arrived a minute later, according to police.
The recordings of police radio transmissions indicate a witness also told police that Allen was in the women's restroom with a gun, while a dispatcher was telling officers she heard shots during another 9-1-1 call from the restaurant.
Dispatch records show that a total of five minutes elapsed -- rather than three -- from the first known gunshots until police fired on Allen. But Mielke disputed the dispatch record, saying the information was not entered precisely.
The chief on Wednesday released to The Plain Dealer a timeline based on his review of videos from the restaurant and a policecruiser. That timeline shows three minutes elapsing from the time the officer first heard a gunman was firing and the confrontation with Allen.
The two officers spent less than two minutes moving into position to enter the building, he said.
"They weren't waiting. They were actually trying to get people out of the way, trying to take a tactical approach," Mielke said.