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California assemblyman's father killed in L.A. home; witnesses sought

Investigators Thursday were scouring the Silver Lake neighborhood where the father of Assemblyman Mike Gatto was found shot to death in the family's home the night before.

Joseph Gatto, 78, was found dead and slumped over a desk at the home in the 2800 block of Bright Lane about 8:15 p.m., Los Angeles police Lt. Richard Parks said. The house was ransacked, but it was unclear what, if anything, had been stolen.

PHOTOS: Assemblyman Mike Gatto's father shot dead

Gus Villaneuva of the LAPD told reporters at the scene Thursday that investigators were combing through the crime scene and would be canvassing the neighborhood to look for witnesses and anyone else with useful information.

The shooting death was the first homicide of the year in what is otherwise a relatively safe neighborhood, according to the L.A. Times' Homicide Report database.

Joseph Gatto suffered at least one gunshot wound to the chest, Parks said. It appeared the assailant had used a small-caliber handgun.

Parks said detectives from the LAPD's Robbery-Homicide Division were taking the lead on the investigation. 

HOMICIDE REPORT: Tracking killings in Los Angeles County

Mike Gatto -- a Democrat who represents the 43rd District, which includes Silver Lake, Burbank, Glendale and part of the La Crescenta foothills region -- was en route from Sacramento on Thursday, morning having missed the last flight out the night before.

Reached by phone, he said his sister made the discovery after she hadn't heard from their father all day.

"She went over there and found him dead," he said.

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Twitter: @aribloomekatz | Facebook

ari.bloomekatz@latimes.com

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