SILVER LAKE -

The 78-year-old father of California State Assemblyman Mike Gatto was shot and killed during a home invasion robbery in Silver Lake, police said.

The body of Joseph Gatto was found by a woman believed to be his daughter around 8:15 p.m. Wednesday slumped over a stool, said Lt. Richard Parks of the Los Angeles Police Department's Northeast Station. Police said the home invasion and murder occurred in the 2800 block of Bright Lane in Silver Lake.

Parks said Joseph Gatto had a bullet wound to the abdomen. He said the murder weapon was believed to be .22 caliber weapon, possibly a handgun.

The house had been ransacked. Parks said the time period between the shooting and the discovery of Gatto's body was not known.

Democrat Mike Gatto was elected to the 43rd District of the California State Assembly in 2010 and is chairman of the Assembly's Appropriations Committee. 

In a November, 2011 interview, the Assemblyman said his father lived only a few blocks from him. Joseph Gatto was a schoolteacher with the Los Angeles Unified School District for more than 40 years, according to his son's official biography.

Among the investigators probing the slaying were detectives from the LAPD's elite Homicide-Robbery Division. One detective noted that homicides are uncommon in the area and speculated that Gatto may have interrupted a robbery in progress.

Mike Gatto, whose district includes Silver Lake, Burbank, Glendale and part of the La Crescenta region, told the Los Angeles Times that his sister found the body after not hearing from her father all day.

The slaying was Silver Lake's first homicide this year.