Mayor of Los Angeles suburb of Bell Gardens shot to death

Reuters News
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Posted: Sep 30, 2014 9:42 PM

By Steve Gorman

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - The mayor of Bell Gardens, California, a small Los Angeles suburb, was shot to death by his wife on Tuesday in an apparent domestic dispute, and his spouse has been detained by investigators, according to the county sheriff's department.

The shooting stemmed from an afternoon quarrel between the mayor, Daniel Crespo, 45, and his wife, Levette, 43, that escalated when their 19-year-old son, Daniel Jr., intervened, sheriff's spokeswoman Crystal Hernandez said.

"Ultimately he got into a physical altercation with his father, and (the wife) produced a firearm, and she shot her husband multiple times in the torso," Hernandez said.

The mayor was rushed to a local hospital, where he was pronounced dead, the spokeswoman said.

Hernandez said she had no further details on the nature or circumstances of the argument that preceded the shooting.

She said no charges were immediately filed in the case, and a message posted on the municipal website said the shooting did not appear to be related to the city or Crespo's official duties as mayor. The mayor's spouse was being detained by police while the investigation continued, Hernandez said.

A biography of the mayor on the site said he was born and raised in a housing project in the Brooklyn borough of New York City and described Crespo and his wife as high school sweethearts who married in 1986.

He was elected in 2001 to the City Council of Bell Gardens, a municipality about 10 miles (16 km) southeast of Los Angeles, spanning about 2 1/2 square miles with a population of about 43,000.

(This version of the story corrects spelling of mayor's wife to Levette in paragraph 2)

(Reporting by Steve Gorman; Editing by Peter Cooney and Lisa Shumaker)