D.A. notes progress in search for ‘General Hospital’ star Johnny Wactor’s killer

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By Yosi Yahoudai
Founder and Managing Partner

A top prosecutor said Wednesday that investigators have leads in the fatal shooting of “General Hospital” actor Johnny Wactor as his brother, friends and politicians called for more resources on the case and a tougher approach to crime in Los Angeles.

Wactor, 37, was gunned down May 25 after leaving a rooftop bar following the end of his late-night bartending shift at Level 8 in downtown L.A. He and a co-worker encountered three thieves near Pico Boulevard and Hope Street trying to steal his car’s catalytic converter. One of them fatally shot Wactor before fleeing around 3:35 a.m.

“We want something to be done,” brother Grant Wactor told the group of more than 200 people gathered at the scene where Wactor was shot. “Me and my family, we don’t live here. But Johnny’s friends — Johnny has roots here. Johnny still has roots here and will continue to have roots here. So we want it to be a safer city for them. … We want it sooner rather than later.

“We appreciate all the work that’s being done to find and capture all these people, but we hope that any resources that [are] available continue to be [used],” he added.

Micah Parker, a fellow actor, called for Los Angeles politicians to stop being soft on crime and asked for Dist. Atty. George Gascón to commit to seeking the maximum sentence for Wactor’s killers and demanded that Mayor Karen Bass commit more resources to prevent crime.

“They need to get off the sidelines and do their jobs,” Parker said.

Grant Wactor, left, the brother of actor Johnny Wactor, joins a rally calling for justice after his brother’s shooting death.

(Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times)

Joseph Iniguez, the district attorney’s chief deputy, told the gathering that top prosecutors with the major crimes division are working with Central Bureau homicide detectives on the investigation.

No arrests have been made in connection with the slaying, but Iniguez said: “We have a number of leads.”

He added that prosecutors cannot preemptively discuss how they will handle any prosecution.

Nathan Hochman, Gascón’s challenger in the November election, said that if elected, “we are going back to a system where criminals are held accountable for their actions.” He said he wouldn’t go after only the thieves but the entire chain of buyers who fuel catalytic converter theft.

The group later marched to City Hall, pushing for Bass “to lend full support and resources to the Los Angeles Police Department in this homicide investigation, beginning with issuing a minimum $25,000 reward for any information leading to the arrest of the individuals responsible for Johnny’s death.”

City Councilman Kevin de León, who also spoke to the crowd at the shooting site, said the council would adjourn its meeting in honor of Wactor.

“We welcome you with open arms to City Hall,” De León said. “Let’s find justice for Johnny Wactor.”

Wactor and his co-worker were walking to his car when they were “confronted by three individuals who had Wactor’s vehicle raised up with a floor jack and were in the process of stealing the catalytic converter,” police said. Catalytic converters are popular targets for thieves because they are rich in precious metals that can be resold.

The thieves were all wearing dark clothing and driving a dark sedan that fled north on Hope Street, authorities said.

Wactor’s co-worker, Anita Joy, said they thought the actor’s car was being towed.

“We were no threat, and Johnny kept his cool as he always did, simply stating that it was his car and for them to leave. Hands open to his sides in peace,” Joy posted on Instagram.

“Johnny was between me and the man who shot him — as I heard the shot ring into the night, he forcefully tumbled back into my arms and as I grabbed for him, I shouted, ‘Hunny, you ok?!’

“And he only responded, ‘Nope! Shot!’ ”

A security guard from the bar, Bryan Barkley, responded to help before paramedics rushed Wactor to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead. On Wednesday, Barkley addressed the crowd, telling them that the actor “was a real hero.”

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About the Author
Yosi Yahoudai is a founder and the managing partner of J&Y. His practice is comprised primarily of cases involving automobile and motorcycle accidents, but he also represents people in premises liability lawsuits, including suits alleging dangerous conditions of public property, third-party criminal conduct, and intentional torts. He also has expertise in cases involving product defects, dog bites, elder abuse, and sexual assault. He earned his Bachelor of Arts from the University of California and is admitted to practice in all California State Courts, and the United States District Court for the Southern District of California. If you have any questions about this article, you can contact Yosi by clicking here.