Police were asking for the public’s help Thursday finding pieces of jewelry that may have been made by Joseph Gatto, the father of a state assemblyman, who had been found shot to death last month in his Silver Lake home.
The 78-year-old Gatto was discovered having been shot in the abdomen on Nov. 13 at his home in the 2800 block of Bright Lane, in an affluent area of Los Angeles with a low rate of violent crime. His death was ruled a homicide.
A beloved longtime arts teacher and jewelry-maker, Gatto was the father of Assemblyman Mike Gatto and two other children.
Hundreds of people attended a Nov. 25 funeral service for Joseph Gatto, who had founded the visual arts department of the Los Angeles County High School for the Arts and had mentored many artists.
His home was found ransacked, and police had said they were exploring the possibility that Gatto was killed during a home-invasion robbery.
On Thursday, the Los Angeles Police Department’s Northeast Station sent out a community alert asking for helping finding jewelry that had been made by Gatto for sale at area pawn shops.
“Mr. Gatto was a craftsman who created ornate, custom-made, jewelry pieces (rings, bracelets, pendants, and necklaces) using precious metals, stones, bone, ivory, porcelain, glass, wood and Egyptian scarabs,” the LAPD alert read. “Mr. Gatto engraved many of his pieces with his initials and name ‘J A Gatto’ along with a circular design.”
Detectives were looking for any pieces that had been purchased or sold by pawn shops.
Police had released a sketch of a man who was seen breaking into a vehicle the night before Gatto was shot in the same neighborhood. The man pointed a gun at a woman who confronted him and threatened to kill her, then issuing a similar threat to another witness who confronted him, according to police.
Anyone with information about the jewelry was asked to call Robbery-Homicide Division Detectives Telis or Gable at 213-486-6890 during business hours, or LAPD Realtime Analysis & Critical Response Division at 213-484-6700, 24 hours a day.