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Assemblyman Mike Gatto's Father Murdered in Silver Lake

Assemblyman Mike Gatto's Father Murdered in Silver Lake
Crime scene tape blocks Bright Lane. Photo by L.A. Weekly's Besha Rodell

See more reaction from notables and neighbors at the bottom.

Mayor Eric Garcetti said an "aggressive investigation" was under way after the father of California Assemblyman Mike Gatto was found murdered at his Silver Lake home last night.

Seventy-eight-year-old Joseph Gatto was found dead in his home in the 2800 block of Bright Lane yesterday, according to police and reports:

LAPD Officer Bruce Borihanh told us that officers were called to conduct a death investigation about 8 p.m. last night. He wouldn't confirm that the victim was Gatto's father, but Mayor Garcetti released this statement.

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 Beck and the LAPD is conducting an aggressive investigation.

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Borihanh said a scientific investigation team was searching for forensic evidence and that the department's big-gun Robbery-Homicide Division also was on the case.

He noted that the area, at the top end of the Silver Lake reservoir, is not a high-crime neighborhood:

We have not confirmed any theory or motive. But that area is not known for crime.
Assemblyman Mike Gatto's Father Murdered in Silver Lake
Bright Lane via L.A. Weekly's Besha Rodell

The elder Gatto appeared to have died from a gunshot wound, Borihanh said.

Mike Gatto of Burbank represents Northeast L.A., including that area, apparently.

Police told City News Service the house had been ransacked. There was some speculation the 78-year-old might have interrupted a burglary in progress.

Assemblyman Mike Gatto's Father Murdered in Silver Lake
Besha Rodell / L.A. Weekly

[Added at 1:03 p.m.]: Governor Jerry Brown, on behalf of himself and his wife, issued this statement today:

Anne and I extend our deepest sympathies and condolences to the Gatto family in this time of mourning.

Tom LaBonge, who represents Silver Lake on the L.A. City Council, distributed this statement:

My heart goes out to the Gatto family. Joseph Gatto was a friend to all in the neighborhood. My prayers are with the family.

[Added at 3:07 p.m.]: City Councilman Paul Koretz posted this statement on his Facebook page this afternoon:

So deeply saddened by the news. My thoughts and prayers are with Mike Gatto and his family.

[Added at 3:24 p.m.]: Lobbyist Jaime Rojas, Jr., who went to high school with Mike Gatto and calls himself a longtime friend of the family, told us this today:

Everyone was devastated. To be talking to him one day and the next day to have him killed is terrible.

All the neighbors know one another and I haven't seen someone being murdered in this area in over a decade. Really there are no violent issues there on the Lake. People are out at night.

He was a very good neighbor.

[Added at 3:31 p.m.]: Renee Nahum of the Silver Lake Neighborhood Council called the crime "extremely disturbing for most people I've talked to in the neighborhood."

"Hopefully we can get to the bottom of this," she said.

We asked if there has been much crime in the upscale area recently. Nahum said this:

We've heard about some burglaries. The only thing that we've been hearing about from the LAPD is an uptick in property crime and car thefts -- things being taken out of cars -- but not violent crimes like this.

According to LAPD statistics burglaries (up three percent since 2011) and other thefts (up four percent) have increased slightly in the entire area covered by the department's Northeast Division, which includes Silver Lake, part of Echo Park, Los Feliz, Atwater Village, Highland Park, Eagle Rock and more.

"All of us are deeply disturbed," Nahum told us. "Our heart goes out to the family. It's a horrible thing."

-With reporting from LA Weekly managing editor Jill Stewart.

Send feedback and tips to the author. Follow Dennis Romero on Twitter at @dennisjromero. Follow LA Weekly News on Twitter at @laweeklynews.


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