CA Assemblyman's Father Found Murdered In Home - KMSP-TV

CA Assemblyman's Father Found Murdered In Home

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Los Angeles, CA -

(FOX 11 / AP) Police say there are no indications that the shooting death of the father of California Assemblyman Mike Gatto was related to his son's politics.

Los Angeles police Deputy Chief Kirk Albanese, who heads the department's detectives, said Thursday there isn't any information to suggest 78-year-old Joseph Gatto's death was related to his son's job.

Gatto was found late Wednesday at his home in the Silver Lake area. A family member discovered him shot at least once.

Albanese says more than a dozen detectives from the department's Robbery-Homicide Division canvassed the Silver Lake neighborhood overnight and Thursday morning, searching for clues and witnesses. The investigation is ongoing; no arrests have been made.

Albanese says anyone with information is encouraged to call detectives.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP's earlier story is below.

Police on Thursday were investigating the shooting death of the father of California Assemblyman Mike Gatto in a ransacked Los Angeles home.

Joseph Gatto, 78, was found late Wednesday at his home in the Silver Lake area, police Lt. Richard Parks said. A family member arrived at the home and discovered Gatto shot at least one time.

No arrests have been made and no other details were immediately released.

Mike Gatto, D-Los Angeles, learned of his father's death by phone while in Sacramento and is "absolutely devastated," he said in a statement.

Joseph Gatto was a retired art teacher whose career spanned more than 40 years. He also was a jewelry craftsman who was uncompromising and liked to incorporate ancient symbols into his work, said Marbeth Scohn, a writer and jewelry historian who interviewed him last year for her online magazine.

Gatto designed unique pieces, including adjustable rings for people who had arthritis, Scohn said.

"He was a very hard worker," Scohn said. "I think his work is so much different than anything than I had ever seen before."

Gary Soerensen knew Gatto for 10 years while they worked together at Los Angeles County High School for the Arts. Gatto was chair of the school's visual arts department until about 2001. He hired staff and helped recruit students.

"He was a person who stood up for what he believed in," said Soerensen, who heads the school's musical theater department. "He was a fighter in the sense of what students and education needed. He was a superb role model for students."

Mike Gatto was elected to represent the 43rd District in a special election three years ago.


From Gigi Graciette:

Losing a parent is never easy. Losing a parent to a crime makes it even harder.

It's wrong on so many levels, starting with they're senior citizens! Most likely they've worked hard their entire lives and are now finally able to sit back and enjoy life.

By all accounts, that's what Joseph Gatto was doing; enjoying his life, his children and grandchildren. His art.

And the joy of what was to come!

In May, a family friend told me, he would have proudly walked one of his daughters down the aisle as she married her fiancé. It was a day he was greatly looking forward to, she said.

But sometime on Wednesday November 13th , someone with a gun ended all of those great expectations of what was to come for Joseph Gatto.

For reasons still publically unknown, the 78 year was shot to death inside his Silverlake home on Bright Lane. The daughter he was to walk down the aisle making the gruesome discovery.

By all accounts, Gatto was a good guy. A public school teacher for 46 years, he worked hard, says his son California State Assemblyman Mike Gatto. On his biography it says "When times were tough, Mike's father worked three jobs, including teaching on Saturdays and working nights at Dodger stadium."

"Who would want to kill Joe Gatto?", asked Lauren Wayne, a family friend. And just as quickly she answered. "No one. He was a wonderful man."

Chances are the person who killed him didn't know that and didn't care. Didn't know Joe was going to turn 79 next month. Didn't care that his daughter wanted her daddy to walk the down the aisle.

Didn't know. Didn't care.

And now Joe is dead.

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