SILVER LAKE — Two years have come and gone since 78-year-old teacher and artist Joseph Gatto, father of Assemblyman Mike Gatto, was shot dead in his home on Bright Lane. The suspect has evaded capture despite a reward and widespread publicity, including a vigil held last month on the second anniversary of Gatto’s death. The LAPD recently provided more details about how Gatto may have died at the hands of a thief who was on the run before he entered the victim’s home through an open garage door.
In a recent interview on L.A.’s Most Wanted on Fox 11, LAPD Detective Barry Telis says he believes that a man suspected of breaking into cars on Moreno Drive on the evening of Nov. 12, 2013 was Gatto’s killer. After threatening witnesses with a gun, the man, wearing a hoodie and carrying a backpack, is believed to have fled down a public stairway to Kennilworth Avenue before heading down Bright Lane where Gatto lived. Here, according to Fox 11, is what Telis believes happened next:
That’s where [the suspect] saw Joseph Gatto’s garage with its door open. Detective Telis believes the gunman went inside to hide, but became trapped when Mr. Gatto closed the garage door. At some point, the gunman entered the attached house and murdered Mr. Gatto.
“I believe that he thought that the police were coming because he had just pointed a gun at two people,” Telis said. The garage, which was attached to the home, “was the best place to hide.”
Gatto’s body was discovered a day later slumped over a desk.
A story in the Los Feliz Ledger says that Gatto’s daughter, Mariann, speculated that the garage door was left open after her father got a computer printer out of the trunk of his car. In response to the LAPD’s open-garage-door theory, Mike Gatto said that it was an “unlucky occurrence … or else there’s something going on here much greater than we understand.”
Detective Telis said he believes that the suspected killer lives in the area and is still breaking into cars and homes.
Anyone with any information that could lead to the arrest and conviction of the murderer is asked to call the LAPD’s hotline at 1-877-LAPD-24-7, or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS. The $50,000 reward remains in effect.
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