A story for every victim

Joseph Anthony Gatto, 78

Joseph Anthony Gatto, a 78-year-old white man was shot and killed Wednesday, Nov. 13, in his home in the 2800 block of Bright Avenue of Silver Lake.

Gatto, a former teacher and artist, is also the father of a state assemblyman. An autopsy found he died from a single gunshot wound to his abdomen, according to Los Angeles County coroner's officials.

The time of death was listed as the time Gatto's daughter found his body at his Silver Lake home: Wednesday at 8:12 p.m.

The slaying was the first in Silver Lake since May 2012.  Gatto was found slumped over a desk. He was shot with a small-caliber handgun and his home had been ransacked, Los Angeles Police Lt. Richard Parks said.

Authorities said detectives had "no information whatsoever" that Gatto's death "has anything to do with his son's politics." Assemblyman Mike Gatto (D-Los Angeles) represents a district that includes Silver Lake, the neighborhood where his father lived.

Those who knew Joseph Gatto -- remembered as a valued mentor by former students and a fixture in the community he had longed called home -- said they were stunned by his death. Two of his three children echoed those sentiments to reporters late Thursday.

"I think a lot of people are still in a state of disbelief, including me," Mike Gatto said. "There’s a number of different theories -- I’ve seen some printed. None of them quite sound right to me, but I’ll leave that up to the pro."

One of Joseph Gatto's daughters, Marianna Gatto, the head of the Italian American Museum of Los Angeles, said her father was "loved by all. He had no enemies."

L.A. police said they investigating “a number of different avenues,” including whether the slaying was linked to an aggravated assault and vehicle break-in reported Tuesday night not far from Gatto's home.

In an email widely circulated among Silver Lake residents, a woman warned her neighbors to be on the lookout for suspicious prowlers. She said she saw a man crouched next to a car with glass on the ground on Tuesday night. The woman yelled at the suspicious man, while another resident chased him.

-- Kate Mather and Richard Winton

Photo: Joseph Gatto in his workshop in 2012. Credit: Modern Silver Magazine

Do you have information to share about the life of Joseph Anthony Gatto ? The Homicide Report needs your help. Please fill out this form or e-mail us at homicidereport@latimes.com.

Share a memory or thought about Joseph Anthony Gatto

Before you post, here are some answers to frequently asked questions:

Remember, all posts are approved by a Times staffer. Profanity and personal attacks will not be approved.

Email addresses are not republished or used for marketing purposes.

Four reader comments