Johnny Wactor, American actor, was shot dead during a burglary in Los Angeles

American actor Johnny Wactor was shot dead in Los Angeles by a thief who was trying to steal a part from his car.

The 37-year-old man was seriously injured after interfering with three men trying to remove the catalytic converter from his parked car.

Wactor – who previously starred in the US soap opera General Hospital – was pronounced dead early on Saturday.

His agent is David Shaul told Variety he was an “outstanding human being”.

He continued: “He’ll literally give you the shirt off his back.

“After more than a decade together, he will forever leave a hole in our hearts.”

Wactor’s mother, Scarlett told NBC4 Her son was returning to his car after work and found a man rummaging through it.

Believing it was being towed and not suspecting danger, he approached the man to ask what was going on, then was immediately shot, she said.

She told the agency that the suspect had fled with two other men and described her son’s killing as “senseless.”

Catalytic converters are valuable targets for thieves because they contain precious metals that can be sold.

The incident happened on the corner of West Pico Avenue and South Hope Street in downtown LA. No arrest warrant has been issued.

A tribute shared by producers at General Hospital said the South Carolina-born Wactor “was truly one of a kind and a joy to work with every day.”

In addition to her two years on the show, Wactor also starred in the 2013 NBC series Siberia and was featured in two episodes of HBO’s Westworld.

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