Prosecutors say deadly airport road shootout started as road rage incident – wfmz gas up


Kareem D. Sanders is facing a single count each of homicide and illegal possession of a firearm in connection to the Feb. 28 shooting death of 36-year-old Danny Cancel outside a gas station at 1227 Airport Road. District Judge Patricia Engle ruled that prosecutors made their prima facie case and ordered the charges against Sanders be sent to county court.

In arguing that the charges against Sanders be held over, Assistant District Attorney Steven Luksa called the entire incident “a saga of road rage, disrespect and stupidity.” And while Cancel was at fault by firing the first shot during the earlier road rage incident, Sanders engaged in vigilante justice when he went looking for the victim, Luksa said.

When police were dispatched to the gas station about 1:15 a.m., authorities arrived to find Cancel laying wounded inside the gas station. He later died at the hospital. The second victim, 28-year-old Cassieam Hicks, was found near the gas pumps suffering from a gunshot wound. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

Cancel’s 15-year-old daughter and his girlfriend, Selena Perrin, testified about the alleged road rage incident that occurred before the shooting and the events that unfolded at the gas station. Perrin herself is facing charges for allegedly driving the bullet-riddled car from the gas station and hiding it from police.

Perrin testified that a red SUV and a black and silver Dodge Magnum were “playing” along Airport Road, driving recklessly and dodging each other. The SUV eventually jumped a median, bumped the back of Perrin’s Ford Focus and drove away, she said.

Perrin testified that Cancel yelled out to the other driver, who allegedly replied, “I don’t give a (expletive). It’s gang, gang n—-.” That’s when Cancel leaned across the passenger seat and fired a single shot out the window into the back of the SUV, according to Perrin.

Cancel’s daughter, who was sitting in the backseat, testified that Sanders grabbed Perrin with both hands by the lapels. Perrin, meanwhile, told the court that he stuck and gun in her stomach and asked, “Where’s it at, where’s it at?” She testified that he grabbed her when she tried to take off her seatbelt.

During cross-examination by the defense, Perrin testified that she was previously unable to identify Sanders from a photo array. Wednesday’s preliminary hearing was the first time she was able to identify Sanders as the man who accosted her in the car, according to the defense.

Video surveillance taken from inside the gas station shows Cancel inside the store before running outside. People can be seen moving around near the gas pumps, and the video shows the clerk reacting to something happening outside as he quickly backs away from the window.

Allentown police Det. Stephen Fiorillo testified that responding officers recovered a Taurus Judge handgun outside the store. He said the gun fires a “shotgun-type shell,” and an autopsy revealed Hicks had been fatally shot by the Taurus Judge. Perrin would later testify that Cancel owned a Taurus revolver.

Cancel, meanwhile, was shot and killed by a .45 caliber handgun that was found on the floor of the black and silver Dodge Magnum parked alongside the gas station building. Fiorillo testified investigators also found an insurance card for Hicks inside the car that was still running when police arrived.

The address on the insurance card showed Hicks lived in the 1400 block of Turner Street. Police Det. Joshua Brubaker testified that Sanders lived with Hicks and told police that he had been shot in the area of 14th and Turner streets the night he showed up in the emergency room.

Records, however, showed no 911 calls on Feb. 28 to report shots fired except the gas station shooting, Brubaker said. Hicks’ girlfriend gave authorities permission to search the house, where they found a bloodied shirt with what appeared to be a hole from a gunshot, according to Brubaker.

The only thing that anyone knows for sure is that the gun used to shoot Cancel was in a car that belonged to Hicks, Schular said. Video surveillance showed Hicks running away, indicating that it was Cancel who started shooting first, the defense argued. And Sanders, she said, certainly didn’t shoot himself and no evidence presented on Wednesday indicates he initiated the gun battle.

Calling the shooting “a saga of road rage, disrespect and stupidity,” Luksa said he was not suggesting for moment that Cancel was not at fault. But the defense can’t argue self-defense for a gunfight that erupted at least 40 minutes after the initial confrontation, he said.

But instead he searched for the Ford Focus or at least stopped when they found it parked at the gas station, Luksa said. The Dodge Magnum was parked alongside the building with the engine running, when Hicks and Sanders approached the Focus, he said.

Luksa argued that the evidence suggests Sanders, at some point, had the .45 caliber handgun police found in the Charger. Hicks’ body was found in the parking lot near Airport Road, meaning he didn’t run back to the car to put the gun inside, Luksa said.