Witness Says Gun Possibly Used in Gatto Murder was “Blue”

A screenshot from an online video showing the difference between a stainless steel gun and one that has been “blued” meaning treated with a chemical to prevent rusting. The LAPD indicates the gun used in a car burglary in 2013 that might be related to the murder of Joe Gatto was a “blue semi-automatic handgun.” It’s not clear if the police mean a gun that has been “blued,” or a handgun that is a blue color.

A screenshot from an online video showing the difference between a stainless steel gun and one that has been “blued” meaning treated with a chemical to prevent rusting. The LAPD indicates the gun used in a car burglary in 2013 that might be related to the murder of Joe Gatto was a “blue semi-automatic handgun.” It’s not clear if the police mean a gun that has been “blued,” or a handgun that is a blue color.

SILVER LAKE—A gun brandished during a car burglary on Moreno Drive and possibly used in the 2013 murder of California State Assemblymember Mike Gatto’s father was a “blue semi-automatic handgun,” according to excerpts from a Los Angeles Police Dept. (LAPD) report, filed by a witness.

The burglary and the murder of Joseph Gatto both occurred on November 12, 2013. The LAPD has long speculated the two events are connected.

According to two police reports, the Moreno Drive burglary, which included the suspect pointing a gun at a witness and threatening, “Do you want to die tonight?” occurred between 6:50 p.m. and 6:53 p.m.

Gatto’s body was discovered, slumped over his desk on the third floor of his home in the 2800 block of Bright Lane, 24 hours later on November 13, 2013 by his daughter Marianna and her then fiance around 8:15 p.m.

Police have previously said Gatto had been dead for approximately 24 hours.

The LAPD has theorized the suspect in the burglary possibly hid outside Gatto’s home and then gained access to his house through an open garage door.

In the case of Gatto’s killing, police have said there was no forced entry into the home.

In the weeks after the murder, police issued a sketch of the burglary suspect and described him as a white male, 18-to-25 years old, 5 feet 9 inches tall, weighing around 180 pounds. According to police, he wore a multi-colored hooded sweatshirt and tan pants and carried a tan backpack.

The LAPD released the information in November from two witnesses’ police reports regarding the car burglary after the Los Feliz Ledger requested the information through the California Public Records Act.

Assemblymember Mike Gatto was surprised to hear the new information regarding the gun’s possible color.

“I had not been made previously aware of that detail,” he said.

Detectives working on the case did not respond to a request for comment regarding why the gun detail has never been revealed or the prevalence of blue guns.

There are two types of blue guns in the marketplace. One is a bright cobalt blue, used for training purposes and therefore non-lethal. Other guns, however, mainly marketed to women, according to gun experts, can be purchased in a range of colors, like pink or blue.

However, according to a spokesperson with the local bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, some guns go through what’s known as “bluing” meaning a coating to protect it from rust and can result in a blue-black finish.

According to the witness, who saw the gun but did not want to be identified, the gun’s color was “black and very dark blue.”

It’s not clear how many blue colored—not bluing from being treated by chemicals—semi-automatic handguns are manufactured in the United States. Attempts to determine that type of gun’s popularity were not successful through multiple sources including the California State Attorney’s office, which publishes annually reports of firearms used in crimes in the state.

However, one local gun expert said blue colored guns, though not common, can be purchased through any dealer.

Mike Gatto, who is terming out of office at the end of this year and withdrew his candidacy in 2015 to run for State Senate, held a sparsely attended gathering, in his father’s name, this past November 11th at the Rose Hills Memorial Park’s Homicide Victims Memorial.

In previous years, he has held a vigil near where his father was murdered near the Silver Lake Reservoir and in East Los Angeles for the naming of a portion of the 10 Freeway in the slain Gatto’s name Los Angeles County High School for the Arts, which the elder Gatto co-founded in 1985 and taught for many years.

Correction: The print version of this story incorrectly stated Joseph Gatto was murdered November 11, 2013 and found November 12, 2013. The murder occurred November 12, 2013 and he was found November 13, 2013. We regret the error. 

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