Co-worker who was with late ‘General Hospital’ actor when he was shot recalls the ‘unimaginable events’

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Johnny Wactor, who played Brando Corbin on the long-running soap opera "General Hospital," was shot and killed in Los Angeles over the weekend, his family and police confirmed to NBC News.

Wactor was 37 years old.

Anita Joy, Wactor's co-worker at a local bar who was with him at the time of the incident, is sharing details about the tragedy on her Instagram page.

"I’ve needed to take some time to collect myself and my thoughts. I was with Johnny in his last moments and I’m here to be his voice after such unimaginable events," she wrote in the caption of her post.

Joy explained through both her caption and text slides in her post what happened after she and Wactor finished their bartending shift early in the morning on Saturday, May 25.

She wrote that she and her friend of eight years were walking to their vehicles when they encountered a group of car thieves.

The Los Angeles Police Department previously told NBC News the victim interrupted three men who were attempting to remove a catalytic converter from a vehicle.

One of the males produced a handgun and began shooting, and the victim was hit by gunfire. The trio then fled the scene, the police department said, and the victim was pronounced deceased.

Joy wrote that she and Wactor "cautiously approached the men, questioning what they were doing, at first thinking the car was being towed."

She said the two were "no threat" to the individuals and that "Wactor kept his cool as he always did," adding that Wactor had his "hands open to his sides in peace."

Joy also said Wactor was between her 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!'" Joy wrote in her post.

She said the two "toppled onto the street" where she attempted to hold his body up "while screaming for help and screaming at him" to stay with her.

Joy said they encountered a security guard from their job who had 911 on the phone and performed CPR on Wactor. She said the injury was "too extreme of a wound for him to survive" but "he fought to stay."

In a press release May 28, the LAPD identified Wactor as the victim and described the moments officers first discovered him on the scene with an apparent gunshot wound.

Officers began helping Wactor and requested help from emergency medical services. The Los Angeles Fire Department transported Wactor to a local hospital where he was pronounced deceased.

The County of Los Angeles Department of Medical Examiner has listed his manner of death as homicide.

"My heart is shattered with his loss but I believe l have gained the best guardian Angel out there," Joy wrote in her post.

What Johnny Wactor's mom said about her son's death

Overnight, the late actor's mother, Scarlett Wactor, confirmed to NBC News that Joy was the co-worker whom her son shielded from death.

Previously, Wactor's mother and two brothers shared details about their loved one's final moments in an interview with NBC News correspondent Morgan Chesky.

They explained Wactor was leaving a second job at a downtown bar later than usual with a co-worker when he saw a man near his car.

"Johnny thought that he was being towed," Wactor's mother, Scarlett Wactor, recalled. "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."

Johnny Wactor, left, with his mother, Scarlett, and brothers Grant and Lance. (Courtesy Scarlett Wactor)
Johnny Wactor, left, with his mother, Scarlett, and brothers Grant and Lance. (Courtesy Scarlett Wactor)

When Scarlett Wactor found out her son’s death resulted from theft over a car part from his Toyota Prius, she told Chesky: “This person is evil.”

She explained how she will remember her son for his final act in life: protecting the life of someone else.

"I use the word hero," she said.

"I'm thankful that that person is OK — and that when he died, he wasn't alone," she added.

No arrests have been made, and the LAPD is continuing to search for the three men. In its release, the LAPD said all three individuals were wearing dark clothing and driving a dark-colored sedan. Anyone with information regarding the case should reach out to the LAPD.

"I think they are cowards," Scarlett Wactor said. "As a parent, you never expect to bury a child."

A native of Charleston, South Carolina, Johnny Wactor always wanted to be an actor, his mother previously told NBC News. Even after moving to Hollywood, he still kept in touch with his middle school theater instructor.

Johnny Wactor eventually found a home on "General Hospital," playing Brando, the son of Bonnie Burroughs’ Gladys Corbin, for 164 episodes from 2020-2022, according to his IMDb page. He was also known for his roles on "Army Wives," "Criminal Minds," "NCIS" and, more recently, "Station 19."

Actor Johnny Wactor (Gilbert Carrasquillo / Getty Images)
Actor Johnny Wactor (Gilbert Carrasquillo / Getty Images)

“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,” Scarlett Wactor said.

In a statement to NBC News, Johnny Wactor’s manager, Marco Cuadros, described the actor as “such a kind soul, a talented actor and an inspiration to those around him.” Cuadros said he is still processing "this unfortunate and senseless tragedy."

According to Variety, Wactor’s talent agent, David Shaul, said that Wactor was "a spectacular human being."

"Not just a talented actor who was committed to his craft but a real moral example to everyone who knew him," Shaul added.

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