Crime & Culture: Johnny Wactor, a Saint with Sinners, at Level 8

Johnnie Wactor

All eyes are on crime in downtown LA once again, as General Hospital actor Johnny Wactor, aged 37, was mercilessly killed after leaving work. On May 25th, 2024, at 3:25 am on Saturday morning, Johnny Wactor was walking his friend and co-worker Anita Joy to their car when he saw his own Toyota being lifted on a carjack by three men.

Initially thinking his car was being towed, the assailants appeared to be trying to steal Johnny’s catalytic converter. Johnny cautiously walked up and simply stated, “That is my car, please leave,” with his hands out wide in peace. Standing between Anita and the shooter, he took the bullet and fell back. Anita caught him as he fell and shouted, “Honey, are you okay?” He responded, “Nope, shot!” Anita sat on the road, trying to hold him and screaming for him to stay with her. She, along with a security guard who witnessed the incident, tried everything to keep him alive.

Johnny was rushed to the hospital, where he was pronounced dead. 

Johnny Wactor on General Hospital – photo courtesy ABC via Getty Images

Johnny Wactor appeared in over 160 episodes of General Hospital as the character Brando Corbin from 2020 to 2022. He also appeared in various films and had multi-episode arcs on TV shows such as The OA, Westworld, and Siberia. 

Condolences poured in on social media from various individuals and organizations who had worked with Johnny Wactor, including ABC’s General Hospital, DDO Artists Agency, Sarah Horabanic Photography, the Super Cell movie family, and the film team of American Sognare. News of the beloved actor’s death reached major news outlets around the world.

However, initial reports didn’t mention his employer, leaving the DTLA community and the world to wonder for days which bar the ill-fated actor was coming from. It wasn’t until his co-worker and friend Anita Joy spoke out on social media that the public finally found out.

Witness and co-worker Anita Joy – @instagram

“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 that happened early Saturday morning (May 25) after our bartending shift Friday night at Level 8 in DTLA.”

What is Level 8?

Golden Hour Rooftop Bar Carousel – courtesy of Level 8

Like an adult Disneyland, Level 8 encompassing an entire eighth floor, combining elements of an escape room with eight immersive venues connected by multiple hallways and hidden doors. The dining menus are creatively crafted, well-plated, and designed for a more refined palate. Performers, servers, and bartenders exude Hollywood good looks. The drinks are whimsy. However, cocktail prices lean towards a Beverly Hills budget.

Located across from LA Live the newly opened establishment is spearheaded by the Houston Brothers, Mitchell Hochberg of Lightstone Group & Design Studio, in collaboration with Undisclosable and Basile Studio.

Houston Brothers with performer inside Sinner’s and Saints Halloween 2023 – courtesy Level 8

Mark and Jonnie Houston, of Houston Hospitality, are renowned for their “Speakeasy” vibes. The brothers own and operate over 10 bars and clubs, in addition to Level 8.

With all that Level 8 has to offer, it simmers with its fair share of controversy. 

In 2017, Mark Houston made headlines for alleged domestic violence and emotional abuse involving Lucy Mcintosh, his then-model girlfriend.

In April 2024, the fraternal twins were named as individuals whom Kanye West allegedly assaulted for harassing his wife, Bianca Censsori, at the Chateau Marmont in West Hollywood.

Trouble on Yelp. 
With a 3.3 star rating on Yelp, Level 8 has a steady stream of mixed reviews.

“Quite a nice ride, just go and enjoy! Bartenders are great, drinks are creative.” – Maiken S.

Bartending staff members show conglomerate at Level 8 – @instagram

“The parking is literally $40 to park yourself and $60 for valet. They don’t even charge that in Beverly Hills.” – Sierra R.

“Conceptually brilliant but the execution is mediocre at best.” – Akira M.

“My transgender friend wore designer shorts (up to the knees), and security was trying to turn my friend down.” – Logan L.

“Level 8 offers a breathtaking ambience that perfectly captures the youthfulness of Hollywood” – Christopher B.

Given that Level 8 is a venue serving alcohol and recent spikes in crime, encountering security issues is inevitable. Recently, rooftop restaurant Perch caught backlash when they tried to address the topic by applying a ‘Security Fee’ to the bill. Was this a grim warning?

Trends and Statistics



The LAPD reported last Friday that there was a 4.2% increase in the number of murders reported at this time compared to 2023. 

Catalytic converter theft is a crime that occurs at especially high rates in the City of Angels. These converters can be stolen in under a minute and cost around $1,000 to replace. They then pass through middlemen, smelters, and refineries in the United States and overseas.

DT Weekly reached out to Level 8 and Houston Hospitality regarding the Wactor/Joy incident with a request regarding whether a public condolence was being planned for the death of the well-known employee, Johnny Wactor. Instead of replying to our inquiries, on May 31, 2024, Level 8 addressed the community’s concerns on social media stating,

”It is with a heavy heart that we mourn a valuable and cherished team member, Johnny Wactor, whom we lost to a random act of violence a week ago.”

“We understand that a tragedy such as this impacts everyone differently and profoundly. We are committed to providing a safe and supportive environment for everyone at Level 8.” 

“Since we opened, we have provided the option for security escorts to the nearby parking lot to our staff after hours. And in light of this tragic incident, we have been talking to our team and professionals in the field, and are actively researching additional safety measures for our staff.”

Commentary from the locals ranged from condolences to statements of anger as some questioned Level 8 why parking for employees wasn’t provided and why it took the nightclub a week to make a public comment.

“Only took you a week after he was shot walking a co-worker back to her car for you to make a statement. A beautiful human with a brilliant soul. Moving forward, how will you ensure the safety of your employees leaving late at night?” – Ren Montoro

Photo showing Hotel Moxy/Level 8 paid parking lots – photo by Shawn Smith

Anita Joy pointed out that at least one time, Level 8 had promised employee parking for their late night staff.

“These criminals need to be caught. Level 8 needs to provide parking for their late-hour staff as they originally promised. This cannot be something that isn’t responded to with action, it needs to be addressed in a manner to prevent anything like this ever happening again to the best of their ability. Level 8 needs to contribute to Johnny’s family to honor and respect him for all the hard work and effort he did for them.” – Anita Joy

Going Back Home.

Johnny Wactor – photo courtesy: Sarah Horabanic


John W. Wactor III (August 31, 1986 – May 25, 2024) was born, raised, and educated in South Carolina. Scarlett, Johnny’s mother, was recently in the process of arranging for her son’s body to be flown to South Carolina so that the family might proceed with properly mourning him. She added that they will hold a memorial in Los Angeles at a later date. 

Donate and Tip

To donate to help Johnny’s family with expenses and memorials; excess funds will be donated to charities that Johnny championed.

If you have ANY information on the criminals responsible for his death, please contact the LAPD at 213.486.6606 or their anonymous tip hotline at 800.222.8477 or visit LAcrimeStoppers.org

Author: Shawn Smith

A Cancer Sun, Leo Rising, and a Pisces Moon, Shawn Smith is a multi-media artist with a background in real estate and a champion of The Run. Shawn has been a resident of downtown Los Angeles since 1990. iheartdtla2020@gmail.com