General Hospital star Johnny Wactor shot dead in LA

Actor Johnny Wactor
Actor Johnny Wactor was shot dead in LA after a gang tried to raid his car - Gilbert Carrasquillo/GC Images

A soap actor has been shot dead in Los Angeles by a gang attempting to raid his car for spare parts.

Johnny Wactor, 37, known for his role of Brando Corbin in the long-running US series General Hospital, was reportedly trying to shield a colleague when he was killed in the early hours of Saturday.

He found his car, parked in downtown Los Angeles, had been raised off the road and was surrounded by three men. Initially, he seemed to think it was being towed away.

“He came across them and he thought his truck was being towed. So he said something to the guys, like, ‘Hey, are you towing?’” his brother Grant Wactor told the Daily Mail.

“Then once he turned around, he saw what was happening and he put his co-worker behind him. And that’s when they shot him.”

The men were apparently trying to steal the catalytic converter – a common target for thieves as they contain rare metals, such as platinum.

The trio fled the scene in another vehicle and were wearing masks, police said. They have not yet been identified.

Johnny Wactor in General Hospital
Johnny Wactor in General Hospital as Brando Corbin - Troy Harvey/ABC via Getty

Mr Wactor said his brother had been walking a female colleague back to her car when the incident took place around half-past three on Saturday morning.

“We’re Southern, born and raised, and we would never let a female walk to their car by herself,” he said.

Scarlett Wactor, his mother, said her son had been working at a bar and had stayed behind late to clean, before heading back to his car.

‘A huge hole in all of us’

She described her son as a “light in a dark room”, adding: “There is a huge hole in all of us, and there is no fixing that.”

“I think that when I see Johnny on the videos and the recordings, I can only hope that he’s doing that in heaven and enjoying it,” she added, according to NBC News.

Marco Cuadros, the actor’s manager, described him as a “kind soul, a talented actor and an inspiration to those around him”. His death was a “senseless tragedy”, he said.

In addition to appearing in 164 episodes of General Hospital, Wactor starred in NBC’s 2013 supernatural drama series Siberia and also had a role in the acclaimed HBO science fiction/Western series Westworld.

He was scheduled to appear in three new productions, it was reported.