SILVER LAKE ( — The Los Angeles Police Department and city leaders Thursday met with anxious residents in Silver Lake following the slaying of Assemblyman Mike Gatto’s father.

Joseph Gatto, 77, a former teacher, was shot to death inside his home last week; officials believe he was the apparent victim of a home invasion robbery.

Serene Branson, reporting for KCAL9, attended the meeting, held at Ivahoe Elementary School. She reported that some residents were still reeling from the news.

Resident Nadine Trujillo told Branson that many neighbors still have a modicum of fear.

“Were we targeted, was it a coincidence?” asked Trujillo. “Was it just one of those terrible things that happen when someone is robbed? We want information. We want to feel safe in our homes.”

“When you have a murder, it rattles a neighborhood to the core,” said LAPD Captain Jeffrey Bert.

He could not give Branson specifics about the investigation but did want residents to know that, overall, crime is down in their neighborhood. Bert also said crime was dropping there at a faster rate than in many other parts of the city.

LA City Councilman Tom LaBonge lives in the district and is also a Gatto family friend.

“I think some of the lessons we have learned here is to be more vigilant,” LaBonge said. “We need better lighting around our homes. When you’re walking around Silver Lake, because they love this neighborhood, look at someone in the eye and say ‘Hello.'”

Branson raid police also handed out fliers to joggers showing a suspect of a burglary suspect.

They are trying to determine if that suspect is connected to the robbery and shooting at the Gatto residence.


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