STUDIO CITY (CBSLA.com) — Assemblyman Mike Gatto is speaking in-depth about his father’s killing.
On the night of Nov. 12, 2013, Gatto’s beloved father, 78-year-old Joseph, was gunned down in his Silver Lake home.
Gatto was in Sacramento when he got the news.
“My sister went over there. Unlocked the door. And found him dead,” Gatto said. “He was in his bedroom and he was just sort of slumped over. And my sister initially thought he had a heart attack. And she called me, distraught. And said that ‘Dad’s had a heart attack.’”
Gatto continued, “When the paramedics got there, they found out that he had actually been shot.”
LAPD investigators descended on the house along the 2800 block of Bright Lane—the home where Gatto and his sisters grew up in.
“The initial theories really ran the spectrum. People thought it could have been political. It was a lot of sleeplessness and a lot of concern. My house was put under armed guard for a while,” Gatto said.
Detectives confirmed that Joseph, a retired LAUSD art teacher and artist, was killed during a home invasion robbery or a burglary.
Police said the weapon used was a .22-caliber handgun.
“The first month afterwards really was disbelief. I actually kept a newspaper by the side of my bed because I would wake up and feel like this wasn’t really happening,” Gatto said.
It’s been six months since Joseph’s murder and the suspect is still on the loose. The Gatto family is coping by cherishing memories.
Gatto’s face lit up when he spoke about his father.
“He worked very hard when we were kids; he had three jobs for most of my childhood. You know, he wanted to give us a better life and he wanted us to get a good education and become something,” Gatto said. “When I was running for office, he was the designated lawn sign guy. People would request a lawn sign and my dad would hammer it in their lawn.”
Gatto said, “We talked quite a bit. He loved hearing about my political exploits and things I was doing in Sacramento. It’s hard not having him there for advice.”
Asked how his father’s murder affected his family, Gatto said, “It’s torn us apart, completely torn us apart. It’s been very, very difficult to deal with this. I think everybody is very emotional…everybody is going through a very, very hard time. I think it’s hard when families lose somebody just in a sorta natural way. In those incidences, you have a chance to say goodbye. In this instance, of course, nobody had a chance to say goodbye.”
A $50,000 reward has been offered for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person who killed Joseph.
“We would love to see someone be caught. People talk about closure, I’m not sure that closure ever really exists, but we would like justice to be served,” Gatto said.