MSN News is reporting that Bell Gardens Mayor Daniel Crespo died Tuesday after his wife, Levette, shot him several times during a domestic dispute, Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department officials said.
Crespo, 45, was shot about 2:30 p.m. at his home in the Vinas la Campana complex during an argument with his wife, 43, and his 19-year-old son, said sheriff’s department spokeswoman Nicole Nishida.
An altercation began with Crespo and his wife in the master bedroom, during which his son, Daniel, intervened, Nishida said. While father and son were fighting, Crespo’s wife got a gun and shot Crespo, Nishida said.
Crespo died en route to a hospital, Bell Gardens Fire Department officials confirmed.
Crespo’s wife was detained by deputies for questioning and was released late Tuesday.
Crespo son was taken to a hospital for injuries to his face from the struggle and was also being questioned by authorities, according to sheriff’s officials.
The Vinas la Campana complex consists of beige two-story condos that are near City Hall. Residents say that Crespo and his family have lived there for years.
“It’s a horrible day,” said Ana Maria, a condo resident. “He was such a nice man and was so important to the city.”
Eric Noriega, 39, said he was napping in the living room when he heard three loud pops between 2 p.m. and 2:30 p.m.
“We didn’t really know what to make of it,” Noriega said. “We were about to leave the building later when we saw that police had cordoned off the area.”
State lawmakers said they were shocked and devastated by the news of Crespo’s death.
State Sen. Ricardo Lara, a Democrat, and state Assemblywoman Cristina Garcia, also a Democrat, released a joint statement Tuesday night, saying that “as representatives and residents of Bell Gardens,” the shooting death of Crespo “is shocking and a tremendous loss for our close-knit community. Mayor Crespo was a respected public servant who dedicated his life to protecting and helping others in southeast Los Angeles and throughout the region.”
The incident comes a year after Crespo and several other council members were the subject of threats posted on Facebook. According to an article published at the time by EGP News, the City Council decided to cancel a public meeting because of the threats.
Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., Crespo was a teenager when he married his high school sweetheart in 1986, according to the Bell Gardens website. The couple moved to Bell Gardens, and they had a daughter in 1987 and a son in 1994, the website says.
Crespo was first elected to the City Council in 2001 and worked as a Los Angeles County probation officer for more than a decade, a job he continued to hold after becoming mayor last year, according to the city.