Joseph Gatto died from a gunshot wound to the abdomen, according to the Los Angeles County coroner. The examination was done on Friday and coroner officials ruled his death a homicide.
The 78-year-old was the father of Assemblyman Mike Gatto. The body of the elder Gatto was discovered inside his Silver Lake home by his daughter Wednesday evening.
The LAPD Robbery-Homicide division is leading the investigation. Detectives spent much of Thursday combing the neighborhood, looking for possible witnesses and tips. There were investigators in and out of Gatto's home all day, wearing gloves, examining items and hauling away evidence.
Police have not made any arrests or announced a motive. Mike Gatto has asked for the public's help in tracking down a suspect.
"I would really, really appreciate it if anybody who knows anything would come forward and call the Los Angeles Police Department," he said. "Anything, a weird car that was in the neighborhood. There are thousands of joggers around this reservoir, every day, all the time. If people just saw somebody that didn't seem right, they saw someone skidding out, anything at all just to come forward and let us know..."
Gatto's home is located on Bright Lane near the Silver Lake reservoir. Many of his neighbors spoke glowingly of the former teacher and expressed shock over his sudden death. They said Gatto made jewelry, grew his own vegetables and liked shopping at garage sales.
"He was an all around good guy, intelligent, well-spoken and very approachable; I would say he was one of the good guys, definitely," neighbor Mike Johnstone told KPCC. "...He was a role model for I think all of us."
LAPD Det. Gus Villanueva said Friday there will likely not be any more statements on the case until they have a suspect, have a significant break or need the public's help.