By Charly SHELTON
Two years ago, Joe Gatto was murdered. November 12 was the anniversary of his death and for his family and friends, the day is marked with remembrance and tribute for this member of the community. On this year’s anniversary, a candlelight vigil was held at the Tesla pocket park in Los Feliz. The vigil began at the park with dozens of people whose life Joe touched personally and, with candles burning in hand, they processed down the street to Joe’s house, where he was the victim of a gunshot wound during a home invasion.
“Two years ago today, right about this time of night, my father was likely drawing his last breaths,” said Assemblyman Mike Gatto, Joe’s son. “None of us know how long we’re going to have on this planet, and we certainly don’t know how long others will have. But there’s one thing that I think everybody here can agree on and that is that my father was taken too soon.”
Two years later and the case still remains unsolved. Assemblyman Gatto informed the crowd with the latest news in the case, asking once again for the community’s help in finding his father’s killer. They know that there is a witness who got a close look at the person of interest, but has yet to come forward. At this point, Gatto said, the family and the police are more than willing to follow the smallest lead. For the family and friends of the family, all they want is closure and justice.
“I have been associated with Mother of Good Council parish off and on since 1972, and Joe was a faithful parishioner there,” said Father James Mott, from Our Mother of Good Council Church. “When I returned eight years ago, I was surprised to see that Joe was there, every morning, in the same pew in the church, praying. A good man, I ask you to remember him in your prayers and help to bring whoever murdered him to justice so that person may eventually find inner peace and the forgiveness that he or she needs.”
Seeing the turnout at the candlelight vigil, it is obvious how many people’s lives were touched by Joe Gatto, through his life and family. The investigation is still ongoing and with the network of support through the community, the family hopes that there will be a break in the case soon. And although Joe has been gone for two years now, he will not be forgotten.
“My father was a really big part of the fabric of this city,” said Assemblyman Gatto. “If his life was a quilt, it would be woven together with the panels of the thousands of people he touched over his 78 years here. When someone is taken from a community like this, it rips that fabric asunder and nothing can repair it, nothing can make the grieving easier, nothing can fill the void in our lives. But all of us, everybody [who came out for the vigil] can ensure that the departed are not forgotten.”