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The 78-year-old father of Assemblyman Mike Gatto, D-Los Angeles, was found shot dead in his Southern California home Wednesday, a Los Angeles Police Department spokeswoman confirmed.

"A little after 8 o clock last night our LAPD north division officers responded to a death investigation radio call" and discovered the body of Gatto's father, Joseph Gatto, spokeswoman Sara Faden said.

Assemblyman Gatto, who chairs the Assembly Appropriations Committee, could not immediately be reached for comment. A spokesman said in an email that Gatto is "absolutely devastated."

"The Los Angeles Police Department is investigating, and Assemblyman Gatto thanks them for their kindness and thoroughness," spokesman Justin Hager said in an email.

The LAPD's robbery homicide and scientific investigation divisions are examining the evidence, Faden said, but for now the circumstances of Joseph Gatto's death remain indefinite.

"It's unclear quite yet as to the motives of the crime itself," Faden said.

Joseph Gatto was a retired art teacher and a jewelry craftsman.

Here is a KTLA-TV report with more information on Joseph Gatto:

PHOTO: Assemblyman Mike Gatto, D- Los Angeles, in a 2011 file photo. Associated Press/Rich Pedroncelli


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