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California

Bell Gardens mayor shot to death

Police at home of slain Bell Gardens mayor
Police cordon off the area around the home of Bell Gardens Mayor Daniel Crespo, who was fatally shot in a domestic dispute, sheriff’s officials say.
(Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times)

Bell Gardens Mayor Daniel Crespo died Tuesday after his wife, Levette, shot him several times during a domestic dispute, Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department officials said.

Crespo, 45, was shot about 2:30 p.m. at his home in the Vinas la Campana condominium complex in the 6300 block of Gage Avenue during an argument with his wife, 43, and his 19-year-old son, said Sheriff’s Department spokeswoman Nicole Nishida.

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FOR THE RECORD:

Bell Gardens: An article in the Oct. 1 LATExtra section about the fatal shooting of Bell Gardens Mayor Daniel Crespo misspelled the first name of the mayor’s wife, Lyvette, as Levette. The error also appeared in an article Oct. 2 and a photo caption Oct. 8. —
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An altercation between Crespo and his wife began in the master bedroom. At one point, his son, Daniel, intervened, Nishida said. While father and son were fighting, Crespo’s wife got a gun and shot her husband, Nishida said.

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Crespo died on the way to a hospital, Bell Gardens Fire Department officials confirmed.

Levette Crespo was detained by deputies for questioning and was released late Tuesday.

Crespo’s 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 close to Gage and Garfield avenues, near City Hall. Residents say that Crespo and his family have lived there for years.

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“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 (D-Bell Gardens) and state Assemblywoman Cristina Garcia (D-Bell Gardens) 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, Crespo was a teenager when he

married his high school sweetheart in 1986, according to the Bell Gardens website.

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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.

ryan.parker@latimes.com

Twitter: @TheRyanParker

richard.winton@latimes.com

Twitter: @LAcrimes

ruben.vives@latimes.com

Twitter: @LATvives

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