Mayor of Bell Gardens Shot

Mayor of Bell Gardens Shot
Adrian Middel/Flickr

Updated at the bottom with confirmation of Crespo's death and details about what allegedly led up to the shooting.

The mayor of Bell Gardens, a small city in southeastern L.A. county, was shot and wounded today, a sheriff's official told L.A. Weekly. The municipal website of Bell Gardens identifies the mayor as Daniel Crespo.

The attack was reported this afternoon in the 6300 block of Gage Avenue in that town, she said. L.A. Sheriff's Department officials were headed the scene.

It's not clear what precipitated the violence:

"It was assault with a deadly weapon," the sheriff's official said. "He's not dead."

The city's website says Crespo has been a "deputy probation officer" for 15 years and that he has worked in gang, narcotics and adult units.

The bio says he was raised "in one of the toughest projects in Brooklyn" and was first elected to the Bell Gardens City Council in 2001.

Mayor of Bell Gardens Shot
City of Bell Gardens

[Added at 4:55 p.m.]: Sheriffs detectives were called to assist Bell Gardens police at the scene of the shooting at 3:35 p.m., a sheriff's spokeswoman said.

Sheriff's investigators routinely help out smaller L.A. county cities with major crimes, she said. The victim was taken to a hospital.

"We don't know his condition," she said. "He was alive."

A person with Crespo's is listing as living in a multi-unit building in the 6300 block of Gage.

[Update at 5:38 p.m.]: Sheriff's officials confirmed that Crespo was taken to a hospital, where he died.

Sheriff's homicide Lt. Steve Jauch said a confrontation started when the mayor and his wife had an argument, their 19-year-old son Daniel Crespo, Jr. intervened, and both men had a "physical altercation."

Then the wife took out a gun and shot the senior Crespo "multiple times," Jauch alleged.

The wife was in custody, sheriff's officials said.

[Added at 5:58 p.m.]: The wife was identified as 43-year-old Levette Crespo, according to sheriff's spokeswoman Nicole Nishida. 

She was in custody at the Bell Gardens Police Department, she said.

The city website said that the mayor "married his high school sweetheart" in 1986 and had stayed with her "ever since." The bio says the pair also has an adult daughter.

[Added at 6:40 p.m.]: State Sen. Ricardo Lara and California Assemblywoman Cristina Garcia, who both represent Bell Gardens, issued this joint statement tonight:

As representatives and residents of Bell Gardens, today's tragic news about the passing of our dear friend, Bell Gardens Mayor Daniel 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. Our sincerest thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends during this difficult time. We ask that the public respect the privacy of his family during the impending investigation.

[Update at 11:20 p.m.]: A sheriff's spokeswoman says that Levette Crespo and her son were released after completing interviews with detectives.

The results of the department's investigation will be forwarded to the District Attorney's office for its consideration. "Her and her son are free to go at this point," she said.

Prosecutors will ultimately decide whether any charges should be filed.

With reporting from L.A. Weekly's Gene Maddaus.

Send feedback and tips to the author. Follow Dennis Romero on Twitter at @dennisjromero. Follow LA Weekly News on Twitter at @laweeklynews.

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