WEST HUMBOLDT PARK — A West Side grandfather who was stabbed to death Wednesday had been piecing his life together after a string of bad luck, his family said.
“It’s senseless. It’s just senseless, man," Torrey Canfield said about his deceased brother, Elvis Canfield. "I don’t understand. Like, his life is gone. Just like that. Over nothing.”
Elvis Canfield, 51, had been hanging out with friends and family late Tuesday in the 1100 block of North Springfield Avenue, his brother said.
Just after midnight, a fight broke out between Canfield and another man — whom family described as a "friend of a friend" who lived in the neighborhood.
"I guess you could say [Elvis] is an alpha male. So if he’s confronted by someone, he’s not gonna turn around," said Torrey Canfield, 35. "This guy confronted him, and it escalated from there.”
As the men tousled, they moved down to the 3900 block of West Division Street, where Elvis Canfield was fatally stabbed about 12:20 a.m. Wednesday. He was pronounced dead at Stroger Hospital at 1:04 a.m.
On Wednesday morning, police were conducting interviews, but no one was in custody.
Dozens of relatives, friends and neighbors streamed in and out of Elvis Canfield's house in the 1100 block of North Pulaski Road. They described the avid cook as a "strong-willed" and "outspoken" family man who would be sorely missed.
"I’ve known my brother 42 years, man," said Canfield's sister, Shunda Canfield, as she cried with a family friend.
Relatives said they still weren't sure why the fight started, but several witnesses agreed to talk to police.
Elvis Canfield worked part time directing traffic for the City of Chicago. He previously had been a cook at the United Center, Chili's and O'Hare Airport, his brother said, but a layoff sent him into a funk.
“If you don’t have a certain level of education, it’s kind of hard to obtain employment," Torrey Canfield said. "It’s hard being a man of his age and not being able to do all the things you want to do. He just ultimately wanted to reach that point where he was comfortable in life."
Elvis Canfield had moved back in with his mother to save money, family said. He was excited about the traffic job and hoped to find something full-time.
But "his passion was cooking," Torrey Canfield said. When Elvis Canfield wasn't spending time with relatives or taking his grandkids to the park, he could usually be found near a stove or manning a grill.
“There wasn’t anything he couldn’t cook," said family friend Kenyatta McCarter, 38. "I can’t even say what’s my favorite because everything was good.”
Elvis Canfield had two daughters, one son, two stepdaughters and six grandchildren, his relatives said.
“They seem to be OK right now," Torrey Canfield said, "but I know it hurts them deep inside.”