Unidentified relatives and friends of Bell Gardens mayor Daniel Crespo, grieve inside the city”s police station in Bell Gardens, Calif., Tuesday, Sept. 30, 2014. Authorities say the mayor of Bell Gardens died Tuesday after being shot in a domestic dispute, according to Los Angeles County sheriff”s officials. His wife has been detained and remains in custody. (AP Photo/Nick Ut)
Photo credit: The Associated Press
A police officer stands by the scene of a shooting in Bell Gardens, Calif., Tuesday, Sept. 30, 2014. Authorities say Mayor Daniel Crespo, of the Los Angeles suburb of Bell Gardens, has been shot to death and his wife is in custody. (AP Photo/Nick Ut)
BELL GARDENS, Calif. (AP) — She was his high school sweetheart and wife of 28 years. He was mayor of the modest Los Angeles suburb where they moved and had two kids just after they were married.
Daniel Crespo, mayor of Bell Gardens, is now dead from a fatal gunshot wound that authorities say was fired by his wife, though she had not been arrested and no charges had been filed Wednesday.
Los Angeles County sheriff’s officials who interviewed both Crespo’s wife and son said Levette Crespo shot her husband several times Tuesday afternoon after he got into a physical altercation with their 19-year-old son. Crespo, 45, was pronounced dead at a hospital
A message left with Levette Crespo’s attorney, Eber Bayona, was not immediately returned, but he announced plans to hold a news conference on the case Thursday.
At the family’s home Wednesday, in a modern, well-maintained neighborhood of townhouses, a wreath had been placed on the door of the Crespo home.
“He was such an awesome person. He was forever walking around, talking with people, house to house,” said a neighbor, 63-year-old retiree Florence Chavez.
Another neighbor, Margarita Rios, said any problem she had
Crespo would help her solve.
“A very good person, very friendly,” the 54-year-old nursing assistant said in Spanish, adding she barely knew the mayor’s 43-year-old wife, Levette.
“She’d leave in the car from the garage. I never saw her. I couldn’t even remember her,” she said.
A biography on the Bell Gardens website said the pair were high school sweethearts who married as teenagers in 1986. They also have a grown daughter.
Sheriff’s Deputy Crystal Hernandez said authorities believe the two were fighting when their son, Daniel, tried to intervene and got into a struggle with his father. His mother then got a gun and opened fire, Hernandez said.
Bell Gardens, a city of about 43,000, is one of a series of nondescript suburbs located just southeast of Los Angeles. Carved out of what was originally a land grant awarded to a Mexican soldier in the 1700s, the 2.5-square mile city is bordered by several other small towns. One is the city of Bell, which became synonymous with municipal corruption after several former officials were convicted of fleecing millions from taxpayers and padding their salaries.