SILVER LAKE (CBSLA.com) — The father of a local state Assemblyman was fatally shot overnight in his home, the Los Angeles Police Department said.
Joseph Gatto, the father of Assemblyman Mike Gatto (D-Los Angeles), was murdered Wednesday night at his home in the 2800 block of Bright Lane in Silver Lake.
According to police, a family member arrived at the 78-year-old’s residence around 8:15 p.m. and found him slumped over in a chair at a desk. He had been shot at least one time in the abdomen.
The murder weapon is believed to be a .22-caliber handgun.
Authorities told KCAL9’s Serene Branson on Thursday evening, the crime did not seem to be politically motivated.
The home was ransacked, but it was unclear if anything was taken. Police believe the slaying was the result of a home-invasion or burglary gone wrong.
“Joseph Gatto was a retired art teacher and (post-retirement) a jewelry craftsman,” Gatto’s spokesman, Justin Hager said in a statement issued to CBS2/KCAL9. “The assemblyman learned of his death by phone in Sacramento. He is absolutely devastated.”
LAPD’s Robbery-Homicide Division is investigating the case.
“My thoughts and prayers are with the Gatto family. This tragedy is devastating to them and is of concern to the entire community. I’ve spoken with Chief [Charlie] Beck and the LAPD is conducting an aggressive investigation,” Mayor Eric Garcetti said in a statement.
Gov. Jerry Brown also issued a statement Thursday:
“Anne and I extend our deepest sympathies and condolences to the Gatto family in this time of mourning.”
Councilman Joe Buscaino of the 15th District also released a statement about the slaying.
“I was shocked and saddened to learn of the tragic murder of Joseph Gatto, father of my good friends Mike and Marianna Gatto, who have become like family to me. Assemblyman Gatto was the first person to endorse me when I ran for the LA City Council in 2011 and I introduced Marianna to her fiancée. It was very apparent how much Joseph Gatto was proud of his children and it hurts me to know that he will not be able to celebrate his son’s legislative accomplishments, or walk his daughter down the aisle when she gets married next spring. I am confident the LAPD will work diligently to bring Mr. Gatto’s killer to justice. My entire family’s thoughts and prayers are with the Gatto family,” Buscaino said.
No suspect description was released by police.
The victim’s family is just searching for anything that would make sense.
“We are a very close-knit family. We can’t imagine life without him,” said the victim’s daughter, Marianna Gatto. She spoke to reporters with son Damien at her side.
“I’m getting married in May,” she said, “My father was supposed to walk me down the aisle.”
Mike Gatto, 39, was elected to the represent California’s 43rd District in a special election in June 2010.