HomeNewsLocalFriends, Family of Slain Actor Johnny Wactor to Call for Justice

Friends, Family of Slain Actor Johnny Wactor to Call for Justice

LOS ANGELES (CNS) – Nearly three weeks after his shooting death at the hands of a catalytic converter theft crew, friends and family of former “General Hospital” actor Johnny Wactor gathered in downtown Los Angeles Wednesday to call for justice and urge the city to post a reward for information leading to the killers.

Wactor, 37, was shot around 3:30 a.m. May 25 while walking with a co- worker toward his parked car near Hope Street and Pico Boulevard after finishing his bartending shift at the nearby Level 8 bar/restaurant. Police said the pair encountered a crew of people trying steal the catalytic converter from Wactor’s car, and one of them shot Wactor as he approached.

“Back home we’re all hurting obviously,” Wactor’s brother Grant told the crowd gathered at the shooting site Wednesday morning. “… We’re doing everything we can to try to stay busy to try to keep this in the forefront, so thank you all for being here and helping us keep this out there so we can continue to press this issue. The main thing is just, it was a senseless act of violence. It was something that none of us expected. He was 37 years old. He would be 38 in August. And it hurts.

“We want something to be done,” he said. “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 fine and capture all these people, but we hope that any resources that (are) available continue to be (used).”

He added: “I love my brother. I’ll love my brother ’til my last breath.”

Organizers of Wednesday’s gathering said in a statement that “unfortunately, what happened to Johnny can, and is likely to, happen again.”

“With a one in 119 chance of becoming a victim of a violent crime coupled with a one in 36 chance of being a victim of property crime in Los Angeles alone, our city has one of the highest crime rates in the country, ranking safer than only 7% of U.S. cities nationwide,” organizers said. “Johnny’s family and friends are urging local community leaders to explore legislative and municipal actions that will hopefully not only lead to breakthroughs in Johnny’s case, but that will also help make the city that Johnny chose to call home safer. This should be important to us all.”

The group gathered near the shooting scene to make a plea for justice for the case. After making remarks, they marched to City Hall, pushing for Mayor Karen 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 spoke to the crowd at the shooting site, encouraging them to attend Wednesday’s council meeting. The council later adjourned its meeting in honor of Wactor.

“His love for his family and zest for life were the constants that guided him through his life’s journey,” de León said at the end of the council meeting. “His love, passion, integrity will be remembered and felt by all those who had the privilege of knowing him.”

According to the Los Angeles Police Department, Wactor and his co- worker — later identified as Anita Joy — were walking to his vehicle but 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. Without provocation, the victim was shot by one of the individuals.

“The three suspects involved were wearing all dark clothing and driving a dark colored sedan. The suspects fled northbound on Hope Street,” police said.

Paramedics rushed Wactor to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

Catalytic converters are popular targets for thieves because they are rich in precious metals that can be resold.

In a subsequent social media post, Joy wrote, “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. 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!’

“We toppled onto the street where I pushed my legs under him and tried to hold his body up while screaming for help and screaming at him to stay with me.”

According to Joy, a security guard from their workplace was nearby and ran to them while calling 911, then tied a jacket around Wactor in hopes of stopping the bleeding, and tried to perform CPR.

“It was too close range, too extreme of a wound for him to survive it but my god, he fought to stay,” Joy wrote. “I am utterly heartbroken and so very angry. My only peace is that I was with him and this didn’t happen to him alone — my only other peace will be seeing these awful men brought to justice.”

Wactor appeared on nearly 200 episodes of “General Hospital” from 2020-22. His other credits included “Westworld,” “The OA,” “NCIS,” “Station 19,” “Criminal Minds” and “Hollywood Girl.”

“Johnny had this incredible ability that was truly just his genuine nature — to make anyone and everyone feel so special in his eyes,” Joy wrote. “No matter how well you knew him, he treated everyone like he truly cared about you. He lit up any room — you couldn’t not smile around him. His energy was magnetic and pulled you in so effortlessly — you were safe with him. He treated everyone with love, respect, compassion and he really `saw’ you. He was beautiful, goofy as hell, full of work ethic and values, he never put people down, even when joking, he never made you feel unsure of yourself — he knew how to be hilarious in such a positive way and it just made him that much more lovable.”

Anyone with information about the suspects was urged to call the LAPD’s Central Station at 213-486-6606. Tipsters who prefer to remain anonymous can call Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477 or visit lacrimestoppers.org.

A GoFundMe page created to benefit Wactor’s family, gofundme.com/f/justice-for-johnny-family-support, had raised more than $133,000 as of Wednesday.

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