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High school senior shot to death day before daughter’s 2nd birthday

Miguel “Mikey” Cancel was going to give his daughter a little stroller to push her dolls around at her birthday party at Chuck E. Cheese on Sunday.

But the party was canceled after he was shot to death about 2:40 a.m. Saturday. He was in a car at a red light in the 4200 block of West Irving Park Road when a gunman approached and opened fire. Two other people in the car were wounded.

Police said the shooting may have gang ties, but Cancel’s grandmother, Mirna Resto, who raised Cancel, said the high school senior was weary of associating with gang members and excited about the prospects of graduating from high school and either joining the Army or attending college.

Resto said Cancel, 19, was headed home from a nightclub when the shooting occurred. She thinks it was a case of mistaken identity in which he may have unwittingly drawn the attention of gang members by wearing a hat with gang colors on it.

“I always tell him, ‘Mikey, don’t wear hats in the car. You know how these gang-bangers are.’ But he loves hats, he must have hundreds,” said Resto, who planned to move with her grandson to Florida in two months.

“I’m tired of these people in Chicago, they think everybody’s a gang-banger,” she said.

Cancel attended Amundsen High School in the Ravenswood neighborhood, where his grandmother, who recently retired, worked as a payroll clerk, but he transferred to Taft High Schoool in Norwood Park for his senior year. “He didn’t have problems at school, he just didn’t want to be there if I wasn’t there,” Resto said.

“He was excited about his prom,” she said. “Now everything is gone because someone wanted to play God with a gun.”

Cancel’s daughter, Katie, had a scaled-down second-birthday party at home.

“We sang happy birthday and had a cake, but she was looking for her father,” Resto said. “I don’t know what to tell her.”

“His life had completely changed because he had a daughter,” she said. “He’d see her on the weekends and go to the park with her. He was trying to be a good father. And now she’s left without a father.”

On Sunday, friends and former teachers stopped by the Jefferson Park home where Cancel lived with his grandmother to offer condolences.

“You can’t imagine the feeling of going to the morgue and having to identify your son,” she said. “He’s supposed to bury me. I’m not suppsoed to bury him.”



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