The family of 78-year-old Joseph Gatto, who was shot to death inside his Silver Lake home 10 years ago, is still waiting for answers, but former State Assemblyman Mike Gatto said his family remains hopeful that his father’s killer will be found, and justice will be served.
Firefighters were called at about 8:15 p.m. on Nov. 13, 2013, to conduct a death investigation at a residence in the 2800 block of Bright Lane, where they found the body of the 78-year-old, slumped over at a desk, according to Lt. Richard Parks of the Los Angeles Police Department.
“The last ten years for me have…sometimes its felt like an obsession,” the former assemblyman told KTLA’s Samantha Cortese.
He said he has spent the last decade wondering, investigating, publicly asking who killed his father.
“I poured over every single clue,” Mike said. “I have interviewed everybody in the neighborhood. I’ve searched for as many different things as I can.”
Joseph Gatto was shot in the stomach and the house ransacked. His daughter, Marianna, found her father at his computer desk.
At the time, it was the only murder in more than a year in Silver Lake.
“You know, my father bled out,” Mike said. “The idea that somebody could sit there and watch an elderly person bleed to death, that to me is crazy.”
The 78-year-old was a respected art teacher, a founding member of the L.A. County High School for the Arts. In his retirement, he made unique and eclectic jewelry, some of which may have been taken in the robbery.
“After 10 years, memories fade,” Mike said. “The jewelry could’ve been melted down. We believe this case will be broken by good old fashioned police work or members of the public coming forward. We still hold out hope.”
The hope is that maybe aspects of the terrible crime will become clearer.
“We don’t understand why a criminal would’ve done certain things,” Mike explained. “My father had three cars. This person went into a house with three cars present? We wonder if this was someone my father knew.”
Detectives told KTLA that there is DNA evidence, but they are careful about what to say since the case is still unsolved.
“That has been the hardest part about this,” the former assemblyman said. “Thinking about the different clues and putting them together and not having answers. Some of it just makes no sense.”
There is a $50,000 reward for any information leading to an arrest in this case.
The grieving son stressed that he wants to keep this story alive because attention on any cold case could raise the profile of the 49% of murders that go unsolved in the United States.