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State Assemblyman's Father Killed

State Assemblyman's Father Killed



LOS ANGELES (AP) — Police on Thursday were investigating the shooting death of the father of California Assemblyman Mike Gatto in a ransacked
Los Angeles home.


Joseph Gatto, 78, was found late Wednesday at his home in the Silver Lake area, police Lt. Richard Parks said. A family member arrived at the home and discovered Gatto shot at least one time.

No arrests have been made and no other details were immediately released.

Mike Gatto, D-Los Angeles, learned of his father's death by phone while in Sacramento and is "absolutely devastated," he said in a statement.

Joseph Gatto was a retired art teacher whose career spanned more than 40 years.

He also was a jewelry craftsman who was uncompromising and liked to incorporate ancient symbols into his work, said Marbeth Scohn, a writer and jewelry historian who interviewed him last year for her online magazine.

Gatto designed unique pieces, including adjustable rings for people who had arthritis, Scohn said.

"He was a very hard worker," Scohn said. "I think his work is so much different than anything than I had ever seen before."

Gary Soerensen knew Gatto for 10 years while they worked together at Los Angeles County High School for the Arts. Gatto was chair of the school's visual arts department until about 2001. He hired staff and helped recruit students.

"He was a person who stood up for what he believed in," said Soerensen, who heads the school's musical theater department. "He was a fighter in the sense of what students and education needed. He was a superb role model for students."

Mike Gatto was elected to represent the 43rd District in a special election three years ago.

 

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