As Memorial Highway Is Named for Joseph Gatto, LAPD Asks for Tips in Unsolved Killing

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On a day when a freeway was dedicated in his name exactly a year after his death, the slain father of a state assemblyman was the subject of a renewed plea from Los Angeles police and his family for information leading to an arrest and prosecution in his killing.

Joseph Gatto, a highly-respected retired art teacher and jewelry-maker, was found shot to death in his home in an affluent area of the Silver Lake neighborhood on the evening of Nov. 13, 2013.

A student sits in front of a mural of Joseph Gatto at LACHSA, where Gatto taught for many years. (Credit: KTLA)

A student sits in front of a mural of Joseph Gatto at LACHSA, where Gatto taught for many years. (Credit: KTLA)

He died of a single gunshot wound roughly 24 hours before his daughter discovered the body, according to police. Authorities have previously described Gatto's death as part of home-invasion robbery.

His son is Assemblyman Mike Gatto, who represents California's 43rd District.

On Wednesday, Mike Gatto spoke at a dedication ceremony naming a portion of the 10 Freeway in his father's honor. The event took place at the Los Angeles County High School for the Arts (LACHSA), which Joseph Gatto co-founded in 1985 and taught at for many years.

Assemblyman Mike Gatto speaks at a dedication ceremony for the Joseph Gatto Memorial Highway on Nov. 12, 2014. (Credit: KTLA)

Assemblyman Mike Gatto speaks at a dedication ceremony for the Joseph Gatto Memorial Highway on Nov. 12, 2014. (Credit: KTLA)

"This has been a surreal year," said the assemblyman, standing in front of a campus mural depicting his father.

Joseph Gatto was an Army veteran, a beloved arts educator, craftsman, author, father and grandfather, said his son.

"My father always said that a good eduction is the freeway to success, and it’s only fitting that the highway that he drove on each day to provide students with that education is now named after him," Mike Gatto said.

Assemblyman Mike Gatto unveils a sign at a dedication ceremony for the Joseph Gatto Memorial Highway on Nov. 12, 2014. (Credit: KTLA)

Assemblyman Mike Gatto unveils a sign at a dedication ceremony for the Joseph Gatto Memorial Highway on Nov. 12, 2014. (Credit: KTLA)

The Joseph Gatto Memorial Highway will run along the 10 Freeway from 5 Freeway east to the 710 Freeway, passing near LACHSA.

No arrests have been made in the homicide investigation into Gatto's death, and detectives have not been able to identify a possible shooter or shooters. Authorities are hoping that re-offering the reward will help solve the case.

At afternoon news conference at Los Angeles Police Department headquarters, authorities said they believe the person or people responsible for Gatto's death have left the Los Angeles area and may be elsewhere in California or in a neighboring state.

Investigators believe the killer may have spoken about the crime to someone else, and they're hoping anyone who knows anything will come forward.

Police have unspecified "physical evidence," LAPD Deputy Chief Kirk Albanese said.

"We believe that with the public's help and with the right tip, we can solve the case," Albanese said.

$50,000 reward that was initially offered in January was again promoted Wednesday in an effort to get information in the case.

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