What’s next for the Huntsville IHOP and shooting investigation

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – The Huntsville community is healing following a shooting at the IHOP on Memorial Parkway and Drake Avenue Wednesday night. As police continued the investigation Thursday, we learned more about what is next for the restaurant.

The IHOP owner told WHNT News 19 by phone that the restaurant would reopen for business on Friday at 7 a.m.

Meanwhile, IHOP brand spokeswoman, Stephanie Peterson, said the focus is on those who were involved. She said in a statement to WHNT News 19:

“For now, the priority is on taking care of the guests and team members who were there. The restaurant team is working closely with and assisting authorities to piece together the events that unfolded. The restaurant is currently closed pending an investigation.

This is a heartbreaking situation and our thoughts at this time are with the individuals and the families of those involved.”

Dead and Wounded

WHNT News 19 is learning more about the people who died in the restaurant.

Police said Thursday that a customer, Roderick Turner, became upset and got into a fight with an employee. Turner then pulled out a gun and started shooting at employees, police said — killing Roy Brown Sr. Another employee who was hit by gunfire — identified by Brown’s family as Brown’s son — then shot and killed Turner.

Family members said Brown loved his work and his family.

Brown’s niece, Kimberly Lang, said he loved Alabama football and playing video games with his sons. She said he also loved working in the restaurant industry and had met his wife while working in one more than 30 years before.

“He loved his customers,” she stated. “He loved IHOP.”

Turner was a recording artist who went by HotRod SKM. Friends called him Rod.

Turner’s family was not ready to speak when contacted, but a friend told WHNT News 19 that Turner had a big heart and was “battling something he didn’t know how to deal with.”

“I only wish we could’ve given him the help he really needed,” Turner’s friend said.

Customers React

The shooting came as a shock to customers who often visit the IHOP.

Jeff Mills said, “We drove down here to see what happened, and I can’t believe there was a shooting at IHOP like that. I eat there all the time. This is a very calm neighborhood and everything.”

He said he saw all the police cruisers go by and became alarmed, added, “I just couldn’t believe what could be going on down here with that many police cars and everything.”

Meekel Buchannon, another frequent customer, said, “Don’t stop coming here to eat.”

He said when the restaurant opens back up, he will be there.

“Unfortunately something happened, but it’s a great place. Every weekend this place is packed,” he stated.

The Investigation

The Huntsville Police investigation into what happened at this IHOP continues.

Thursday they said two handguns were recovered from the scene.

Police also revealed that the unnamed employee who was injured during the shooting and fired back at Turner, remains in stable condition.

Police do not expect to make any arrests in the case. They said it will be turned over to a Grand Jury for review, which is a standard move in situations like this.

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