Chicago Performer Dies After Being Shot on His Birthday

A performer who was shot multiple times while leaving his Chicago studio to celebrate his birthday has died, authorities confirmed.

Alejandro 'Jano' Fuentes, 45, was pronounced dead at 2:07 p.m, according to the Cook County Medical Examiner's office. He was shot Thursday, just after 10 p.m. in the 4300 block of S Archer in the city's Brighton Park neighborhood.

Police said he was in a vehicle with a passenger when a man with a gun walked up and ordered him out of the car. When Fuentes resisted, the gunman shot him several times in the head, critically wounding him.

Fuentes was taken to Mount Sinai Hospital for treatment and the gunman fled on foot before getting into a car a short distance away. 

Friends of Fuentes say he and his assistant were leaving Tras Bambalinas, an academy for young performers owned by Fuentes, to celebrate his 45th birthday with friends.

"We are feeling confused and we have no explanation why all these things are happening,” said close friend Miguel Sanchez, whose two children attend Fuentes’ academy. “We are very sad because it's something you don't expect to happen to your close friends."

According to those who knew him, Fuentes moved to Chicago three years ago to take part in a play. He liked the city so much he decided to stay and open his studio. Video posted by the studio earlier that day shows a group inside singing him Happy Birthday. 

Fuentes was also featured as a top 10 finalist in Mexico’s version of “The Voice,” called “La Voz,” in 2011.

Jano Fuentes from la voz mexico on Vimeo.

“He loved to help everyone, it didn't matter who it was,” said Alejandra Arellano, who works at a bakery next to Fuentes’ studio. “We're sad. We're concerned and also because of the violence."

Police have released few details about what may have prompted the shooting. But some believe the shooting was not a random act of violence.

"It wasn't random,” Sanchez said. “This guy, they were waiting for him. They were waiting for him to come out of the school.”

No one is in custody and police continue to investigate. 

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