Assemblyman Mike Gatto and his family pleaded for the public's help Tuesday in the shooting death of their father, Joseph Gatto, a well-known artist and retired teacher found shot to death in his Silver Lake home.
Flanked by Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, LAPD Chief Charlie Beck and other officials, the Gattos announced that the city had offered a $50,000 reward for information that leads to the identity of the person or persons responsible for their father's death. The L.A. City Council unanimously approved the reward Tuesday morning.
“My father gave so much to our community,” Mike Gatto said. “Now we must turn to the community for help.”
The reward comes nearly two months after Joseph Gatto's daughter found the 78-year-old slumped over a desk with a gunshot wound to the abdomen. Though Gatto's body was discovered the night of Nov. 13, Beck said Tuesday that investigators believe he was killed about 24 hours earlier.
The chief declined to provide details, citing the ongoing investigation. Asked if the reward was offered because police were at an impasse, Beck said it was “time for the public to come forward.”
“If we had details that would lead immediately to an arrest, obviously we would not be doing this,” Beck said. “I need the public's help.”
Beck reiterated that police were still looking for a man suspected in an assault with a deadly weapon and vehicle break-in that occurred not far from Gatto's home the night investigators believe he was killed. The LAPD released a composite sketch of the man, believed to be 18 to 25 years old, in mid-November.
“He is a person of interest. He is not a defined suspect at this point,” Beck said, referring to the homicide case. “We would like to find out any knowledge he might have — or any other individual might have — regarding Mr. Gatto's death.”
Last month, police issued a second flier in connection with case, seeking information about jewelry that may have been taken from Gatto's home.
Gatto lived in the 2800 block of Bright Lane, a small street nestled near the Ivanhoe and Silver Lake reservoirs. The neighborhood is popular with joggers, dog walkers and others, and Mike Gatto — whose district includes the area — said he hoped someone noticed something unusual that could help police.
“We would hope that somebody saw something, some little detail, and that they come forward and help us solve this crime,” Mike Gatto said.
His sister, Mariann Gatto, echoed that plea.
“Someone out there knows,” she said. “Come forward. Do the right thing. Be a hero. Prevent another family from experiencing such a loss.”
Anyone with information is asked to call detectives at (213) 486-5910 or (877) 527-3247.
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