Crime & Justice

Vigil to be held for Joseph Gatto 2 years after still-unsolved murder

Muralist Kent Twitchell painted this portrait of his friend, Joseph Gatto, who was found murdered in his Silver Lake home on Wednesday night.
Muralist Kent Twitchell painted this portrait of his friend, Joseph Gatto, who was found murdered in his Silver Lake home on Wednesday night.
Courtesy Kent Twitchell
Muralist Kent Twitchell painted this portrait of his friend, Joseph Gatto, who was found murdered in his Silver Lake home on Wednesday night.
A sketch of a suspect possibly connected with the murder of Assemblyman Mike Gatto's father, Joseph Gatto.
LAPD


It's been two years and still no break in the murder case of California Assemblyman Mike Gatto's father.

On Thursday night, a candlelight vigil and procession is being held near the Silver Lake home where Joseph Gatto was shot and killed in November 2013.

The 78-year old was a celebrated arts teacher in L.A. public schools, a painter, jewelry designer and author. The vigil marks two years to the day since his murder.

Mike Gatto said he's aware that after a certain amount of time passes and the tips stop coming in, a case goes cold.

"But this is something that you know I cannot let fall by the wayside, of course. I would not be a good son to my father if I did, so this is something that, you know, I continue to focus on every day," Gatto told KPCC.

Gatto said he still believes there are witnesses out there who haven't come forward. He said some weeks he gets calls from someone in the community saying they saw a person resembling an artist's sketch near the reservoir and that he sometimes responds by going out personally with friends to look for the person.

Police still only have a description of a "person of interest" in the murder.

"You know, the concept of closure I think has become a little bit cliché, and people throw around the word 'closure' with cases like this all the time, but there really is a hole in your heart that develops when you don't even know who was responsible for this and nobody has been made to answer to the justice system for what really was a terrible crime," Gatto said.

The experience has shaped his perspective on what victims' families go through, Gatto said.

Gatto is appealing to the public to report anything they may have seen that night. There is still a $50,000 reward in the case.

The vigil starts at 6:30 p.m. at the pocket park on Tesla Avenue on the northeast side of Silver Lake Reservoir.