Crime and Courts

Co-worker says actor Johnny Wactor shielded her in deadly downtown LA shooting

A co-worker shares heartbreaking details about her final moments with actor Johnny Wactor in their encounter with three catalytic converter thieves.

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What to Know

  • "General Hospital" actor Johnny Wactor was shot and killed Saturday in downtown Los Angeles after encountering a group of catalytic converter thieves, the LAPD says.
  • Wactor, who was returning to his car after a bartending shift, was shot without provocation, police say.
  • The actor appeared in nearly 200 episodes of "General Hospital" from 2020-22.

A co-worker of Johnny Wactor said the "General Hospital" actor stood in front of her when he was shot and killed in a deadly encounter with catalytic converter thieves in downtown Los Angeles.

In an Instagram post Wednesday, Anita Joy shared details about her final heartbreaking moments with the 37-year-old actor May 25 after they left work at a bar. They walked to Wactor's car, which police said had been hoisted up on a floor jack by three catalytic converter thieves.

She said they approached the men, thinking the car was being towed.

"Johnny kept his cool as he always did, simply stating that it was his car and for them to leave," Joy said in the Instagram post. "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!'

"Everything happened in an instant. I've come to describe it as a glass of water that gets tipped over and you're scrambling to grab it and save it from spilling out completely but it just runs through your fingertips and is gone."

She said a security guard from work crossed the street and ran toward them while on the phone with a 911 dispatcher. They used a denim jacket in a desperate effort to stop the bleeding and conducted CPR, Joy said.

Wactor died at a hospital.

Wactor was shot and killed by one of the catalytic converter thieves without provocation, according to a Los Angeles Police Department statement issued Tuesday. The coroner's report said he died from a gunshot wound to the chest.

Automobile catalytic converters contain precious metals that thieves try to re-sell.

"My friend of 8 years went from laughing together, working side by side, leaving our bartending shift and walking to our cars, to him dying in my arms in the streets of DTLA in the dark hours of 3 a.m.," Joy wrote, adding that the tragedy was caused by "a few criminals trying to steal a car part."

Joy said her post that she shared the details in pursuit of justice for Wactor.

"I was with Johnny in his last moments and I'm here to be his voice after such unimaginable events," she said. "He was killed senselessly by a coward who reacted without care of the gorgeous life he was taking. So I'm angry, I'm sad and I'm all of the feelings at once... but above all, I am here for Johnny's justice."

Scarlett Wactor, the actor's mother, confirmed to NBC News that Joy was the co-worker with her son.

"Johnny thought that he was being towed," Scarlett Wactor told NBC News in an interview. "He said, 'Hey, man, you're towing my car.' And when the person looked up, they had on a mask. And Johnny stepped in front of the co-worker, and he was shot."

No arrests were reported in the killing that left Wactor's friends, family and colleagues in mourning.

The three individuals were wearing dark clothing and left the scene in a dark sedan after the shooting in the 1200 block of Hope Street. More detailed descriptions of the attackers and the getaway vehicle were not immediately available.

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

"The entire General Hospital family is heartbroken to hear of Johnny Wactor's untimely passing. He was truly one of a kind and a pleasure to work with each and every day. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his loved ones during this difficult time," the ABC daytime drama posted Sunday on X.

Anyone with information about the attackers 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 Crime Stoppers.

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