Gatto family continues effort for legal changes year after son's - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

Gatto family continues effort for legal changes year after son's tragic death


One year ago, an 18-year-old Georgia Southern student died from head injuries sustained at a nightclub the night before.

Police charged a Rude Rudy’s employee with murder.

One year later, the family of Michael Gatto continues to deal with what happened at the now-vacant nightclub and the city of Statesboro still wrestles with how to prevent similar tragedies.

Michael's father says they could not have survived without support of friends and loved one.

“Even with all that support, he's still gone and we're still struggling with the aspects of it. Even a year out, it's unimaginable,” said Michael Gatto, Michael's father. 

The tragedy called political attention to the places that cater to GSU’s underage students.

“The bar Rude Rudy's, where Michael was killed, is closed and not reopened. Another similar bar in that area closed and has not reopened,” said Jan Moore, mayor of Statesboro.

A year later, Statesboro leaders remain in debate about changing alcohol licenses so places that don't sell food would have age requirements.

“I'm going to continue to push to have the ordinance revised to be fair and be an ordinance that can be enforced fairly,” said Moore.

The Gatto family has managed to get state laws changed to raise bar employee ages. They're still watching for changes in Statesboro.

“It's nice to hear that they're talking about things. What they end up with, and how they enforce it, is what I'll be looking at,” said Mr. Gatto. 

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