LOGAN SQUARE — Like many Mexican-Americans, the Sandoval family planned to spend Thursday celebrating the feast day of Our Lady of Guadalupe, the patron saint of Mexico.
Instead, the family mourned.
Cayetano Sandoval, a 68-year-old grandfather, was gunned down as he headed home from work early Thursday, police and relatives said.
Sandoval, who has four children and nine grandchildren, finished a shift washing dishes for The Corner Bakery around 1:30 a.m. Thursday, said his oldest son, Sergio Sandoval, 42.
Since parking was scarce when he got home, Cayetano Sandoval parked his car a couple blocks from his family's Logan Square apartment and decided to walk the rest of the way, his son said.
About 1:50 a.m., the grandfather was shot to death in the 1900 block of North Spaulding Avenue — just a block from his house.
"Four guys tried to assault my dad, I guess for money or something. I don't know," Sergio Sandoval said, sharing what police and neighbors told him. "My dad got scared and started yelling for help, and they shot him. Four times in the chest."
Cayetano Sandoval was pronounced dead at the morgue at 4:45 a.m. Thursday, the feast day of Our Lady of Guadalupe.
In the Catholic tradition, the day marks the appearance of the Virgin Mary to Juan Diego in Mexico in 1531. The anniversary has become religiously and culturally significant for Mexicans across the globe.
"All the Mexicans go to pray" on Thursday, Sergio Sandoval said. "And, you know, he was gone that day."
Cayetano Sandoval and his wife emigrated from Tampico, Mexico two decades ago "to give us a better life," his son said. The couple's children followed shortly after.
Cayetano Sandoval spent the last 20 years working for The Corner Bakery, his son said.
The grandfather loved soccer, especially Mexico City's Cruz Azul team. When he wasn't sneaking his grandkids candy or buying them treats at corner stores, he could often be found kicking around a soccer ball in a park.
At nights, Cayetano Sandoval loved to play pool, his son said. The two played together at Alfredo's Bar, 826 N. Ashland Ave.
"He was my best friend," Sergio Sandoval said, fighting tears. "All the grandkids loved him.
"If somebody knows something, please come forward," he continued. "Make justice for my dad. He was a good person."