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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – Roy Brown’s family was mourning a loss Thursday instead of celebrating a life.

That was the day they planned to have a party for him, since his birthday is this weekend.

“We was going to have a little get-together so his granddaughter could be there,” said Brown’s niece, Kimberly Lang.

Brown, 56, and his son were working at IHOP Wednesday night when police say Roderick Turner pulled a gun and started shooting in a customer service dispute. Brown was killed. His son was injured and shot back, killing Turner, police said.

The IHOP on Memorial Parkway was closed Thursday as police investigated the shooting.

Lang said Brown was known as the “fun uncle,” who loved Alabama football and playing video games with his sons. She said he also loved working in the restaurant industry.

“He loved his customers,” she said. “He loved IHOP. I think if you could talk to his customers, they would tell you that he was good to them. You couldn’t ask for a better person to serve you.”

Restaurants were a huge part of Brown’s life. He met his wife more than 30 years before while working in one, Lang said.

“His wife is in shock,” she said. “She has fallen to pieces.”

Roy Brown Sr. (Photo provided by family)

The whole family is stunned, according to Lang, and leaning on their faith to get through this. She said the family has dealt with several losses in the last year, and it has taught her a tough lesson.

“Don’t let your loved ones walk out that door without saying that you love them,” she said. “Because you dont know when you are going to see them.”