US actor Johnny Wactor dies protecting colleague during Los Angeles car theft

Johnny Wactor
-Credit: (Image: AFF-USA/REX/Shutterstock)


US soap star Johnny Wactor, known for his role as Brando Corbin in General Hospital, was tragically shot dead at the age of 37 in a car theft incident in downtown Los Angeles.

The beloved actor was leaving his side job at a bar with a female colleague around 3.25am on Saturday when he encountered three men tampering with his vehicle. Initially believing they were towing his car, it transpired they were attempting to steal the catalytic converter.

When Johnny approached to question the men about their actions, one of them brandished a gun. In a heroic final act, Johnny shielded his co-worker from harm, taking the fatal bullet himself.

The assailants, wearing masks, made their escape in another vehicle, leaving Johnny critically injured. Despite the swift arrival of paramedics, he was later declared dead at the hospital, reports the Mirror.

The perpetrators are still at large. In an emotional tribute, Johnny's younger brother Grant spoke to the Daily Mail, highlighting Johnny's courageous sacrifice.

"We're Southern, born and raised, and we would never let a female walk to their car by herself," he said, reflecting on his brother's protective instincts. "He came across them and he thought his truck was being towed.

"So he said something to the guys, like, 'Hey, are you towing? And then once he turned around, he saw what was happening and he put his coworker behind him. And that's when they shot him."

Grant revealed Johnny had been shot in the chest by the gunman. He then praised Johnny as "the hardest working person I've ever met" and claimed he "made a great impact" on everyone he encountered.

The culprits have not yet been identified. Johnny's mum Scarlett expressed her hope for their swift capture.

Speaking to TMZ, she paid a heartfelt tribute to her son, describing him as a "loving young man". She stated his death has left a "huge hole in the family's heart".

Johnny leaves behind his mother and his younger brothers - Lance and Grant. He landed his first major acting role in 2007 with a part in the popular Lifetime show Army Wives.

His career continued to flourish with roles in shows such as NCIS, Westworld, The OA and Criminal Minds.

One of Johnny's most notable roles was as Brando Corbin in General Hospital, where he portrayed the character from 2020 until his departure in 2022. His character was married to drug addict Sasha Corbin in the series.