"Did Someone Kill Gramps?" Silver Lake Home Invasion Slaying Remains Unsolved

View Comments ()



    Six months after the slaying of a California lawmaker’s father, police said they need the public’s help to find the killer. Robert Kovacik reports from Silver Lake for the NBC4 News at 11 on Monday, May 12, 2014. (Published Tuesday, May 13, 2014)

    The unsolved home invasion slaying of a beloved Silver Lake resident has stumped police, left his family reeling and the community on edge.

    Six months ago, Joseph Gatto, 78, a father, grandfather, educator and a world-renowned artist was killed inside the Silver Lake home where he and his wife had raised their family, including Assemblyman Mike Gatto.

    Thousands Mourn SoCal Lawmaker's Slain Father

    [LA] Thousands Mourn SoCal Lawmaker's Slain Father
    More than 1,000 mourned gathered Monday to remember Joseph Gatto, an artist, former teacher and father of state Assemblyman Mike Gatto. Joseph Gatto was killed in his Silver Lake home. Kim Baldonado reports for the NBC4 News at 5 p.m. Nov. 25, 2013. (Published Monday, Nov. 25, 2013)

    Despite a $50,000 reward, the crime remains unsolved.

    Massive Reward For The Person Responsible For The Murder Of Joseph Gatto

    [LA] Massive Reward For The Person Responsible For The Murder Of Joseph Gatto
    Authorities issue a fifty-thousand-dollar reward for information leading to the person responsible for the death of seventy-eight –year-old Joseph Gatto, the father of Assemblyman Mike Gatto. Police hope a new sketch will also help identify the person who shot Joesph Gatto to death in his Silver Lake home. Conan Nolan reports from Downtown Los Angeles for the NBC4 News Tuesday January 7, 2014. (Published Tuesday, Jan. 7, 2014)

    Police Chief Charlie Beck acknowledged the challenge.

    "It is unusual for a person to be killed in their home in LA and not have an immediate suspect," he said. "The longer an investigation goes without a resolution, the more difficult it becomes."

    Reward Offered in Murder of Joseph Gatto

    [LA] Reward Offered in Murder of Joseph Gatto
    Police announced a $50,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person responsible for killing Joseph Gatto, the fater of SoCal lawmaker Mike Gatto today. Police also announced a "person of interest" in the case during a press conference. Conan Nolan reports for the NBC4 News at 5 p.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 7, 2014. (Published Tuesday, Jan. 7, 2014)

    Neighbors feel "actual, palpable fear," said Capt. Jeff Bert, who is also a resident of the neighbornood.

    Anne Marie Johnson, a neighbor and lifelong Silver Lake resident, said she is seeing "more alarm systems, more flood lights, more watching the cars as they go by. More really getting to know your neighbor."

    Mike Gatto's dedication to the case is paralleled only by his frustration over the lack of a suspect.

    "We are so hopeful that they will catch whoever did this but we're also frustrated that it's taken six months," Gatto said. "My wife says it best when she says 'We want to know who to be mad at.'"

    Beck said he's taken this case to heart.

    "All of LA was shocked by the 78-year-old man in the privacy of his home being murdered," he said in interview with NBC4. "I've met the Gatto family and they're wonderful people, and their pain is our pain."

    Beck declined to share details of the investigation, but welcomed any information the public could provide.

    "We need help on this, we need everybody to think about where they were then, what they saw, what they know and give it to us so we can give the family some resolution on this awful circumstance," Beck said.

    For Gatto, part of the challenge is in how to break the news to his children.

    "The hardest thing has been having to tell my 4-year-old about it," he said. "She just asked me one day, 'Dad, did someone kill Gramps?'"

    Gatto continues to struggle with the lack of resolution.

    "It's a little strange to think that the killer's still out there," Gatto said. It "could possibly be somebody who lives in the Greater LA area or perhaps right in Silver Lake."

    Even when focused on his constituents, Gatto's mind is never far from his quest to find his father's killer.

    "Just last week I got some good money in the water bond and did some good things for LA," he said. "I wanted to call him and tell him the story but I actually found myself dialing the phone."

    Follow NBCLA for the latest LA news, events and entertainment: iPhone/iPad App | Facebook | Twitter | Google+ | Instagram | RSS | Text Alerts | Email Alerts