LAPD expected to announce reward in Joseph Gatto homicide case

Los Angeles police and city officials are expected to announce Tuesday a reward for information in the killing last November of Joseph Gatto, a well-known artist and the father of a state assemblyman, found shot to death in his Silver Lake home.

Assemblyman Mike Gatto and his family will be joined by L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti, Police Chief Charlie Beck and homicide detectives at a 2 p.m. news conference to announce the reward. Officials have not revealed how much money will be offered.

[Updated at 11:43 a.m. PST, Jan. 7: The Los Angeles City Council voted 12-0 Tuesday morning to offer a $50,000 reward for information in the case. LAPD Robbery-Homicide Capt. William Hayes said he hopes the reward will spur the public to provide the information investigators need.

“We’re at a point where we believe someone out there knows or is aware of who is responsible for Mr. Gatto’s death but is reluctant to come forward,” Hayes said.]

In an advisory announcing the news conference, LAPD said detectives "have been unable to identify any suspects or eyewitnesses to the crime and are currently seeking the public's help."

The 78-year-old Gatto's killing rattled the Silver Lake community he had long called home, marking the neighborhood's first homicide since May 2012. Gatto's daughter found his body the night of Nov. 13 -- he was slumped over a desk with a gunshot wound to the abdomen.

Authorities have not said when they believe Gatto was killed, and it remains unclear when he was last seen.

LAPD Deputy Chief Kirk Albanese previously told The Times detectives had "no information whatsoever" that Gatto's death "has anything to do with his son's politics." Assemblyman Gatto (D-Los Angeles) represents a district that includes Silver Lake, where the family has lived for years.

Albanese said police were investigating "a number of different avenues," including whether the slaying was linked to a Nov. 12 aggravated assault and a vehicle break-in not far from Gatto's home.

In mid-November, the LAPD released a sketch of a suspect in that assault, saying it "may be connected" to Gatto's slaying.

Last month, police issued a second flier in connection with case, seeking any information about custom-made jewelry that may have been taken from Gatto's home.

The elder Gatto spent decades teaching art at schools across Los Angeles and was remembered by former students as a tough-love teacher whose honesty and guidance made him a valued mentor. He was described as a fixture in the community, a loving father and grandfather proud of his children's accomplishments.

Hundreds gathered at a Los Feliz church in November to honor Gatto. His son fought back tears as he addressed the crowd.

“Deaths like my father's are extremely difficult because nobody got a chance to say goodbye,” Mike Gatto said.

Anyone with information about the case is asked to call police at (213) 486-6890 or (213) 484-6700.

Twitter: @katemather | Google+


Glendale 'party house' shut downStolen Glendale police vehicle found abandoned in Garden GroveArmenian religious leaders celebrate Christmas

Copyright © 2019, Glendale News-Press
EDITION: California | U.S. & World