An “aggressive” investigation was under way today into the killing of Assemblyman Mike Gatto’s 78-year-old father, who was shot during an apparent home-invasion robbery in Silver Lake.
The body of Joseph Gatto was found by his daughter around 8:15 p.m. Wednesday, slumped over a stool at his home in the 2800 block of Bright Lane.
Lt. Richard Parks of the Los Angeles Police Department’s Northeast Station said Gatto had suffered a bullet wound to the abdomen, and the murder weapon was believed to be .22 caliber weapon, possibly a handgun.
The house had been ransacked. Parks said the time period between the shooting and the discovery of Gatto’s body was not known.
Mike Gatto, D-Burbank, was elected to the 43rd Assembly District seat in 2010 and is chairman of the Assembly Appropriations Committee. In a November 2011 interview, the assemblyman said his father lived only a few blocks from him.
Joseph Gatto was a schoolteacher with the Los Angeles Unified School District for more than 40 years, according to his son’s official biography. Gatto and his wife, Isolde, had two other children apart from Mike.
Aside from teaching, Joseph Gatto took other part-time jobs to help raise his family, including working nights at Dodger Stadium, according to the assemblyman’s website. He was also a jewelry craftsman.
Among the investigators probing the slaying were detectives from the LAPD’s elite Homicide-Robbery Division. One detective noted that homicides are uncommon in the area – Gatto was Silver Lake’s first homicide victim this year – and speculated that he may have interrupted a robbery in progress.
A spokesman for his son, whose district includes Silver Lake, Burbank, Glendale and part of the La Crescenta region, said the assemblyman learned of the killing while he was in Sacramento and was “devastated” by the news.
Gatto told the Los Angeles Times this morning that his sister found the body after not hearing from her father all day.
Gov. Jerry Brown said he and his wife, Anne, “extend our deepest sympathies and condolences to the Gatto family in this time of mourning.”
Mayor Eric Garcetti said the killing “is of concern to the entire community.”
“I’ve spoken with (LAPD Chief Charlie Beck) and the LAPD is conducting an aggressive investigation,” he said.
Assembly Speaker John Perez, D-Los Angeles, said those in Gatto’s “Assembly family are keeping the Gattos in our thoughts and prayers. We have faith the Los Angeles Police Department will find the answers to this senseless crime.”