Mayor of Los Angeles Suburb Shot Dead by Wife

(Reuters) – The mayor of a small Los Angeles suburb was shot dead by his wife on Tuesday but the woman was released without charge after being detained, the county sheriff’s department said.

The shooting at Bell Gardens 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 woman) produced a firearm, and she shot her husband multiple times in the torso,” Hernandez said.

The mayor was pronounced dead at a local hospital, she 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 detained by police while the investigation continued but was later released and had not been charged, Hernandez said.

No arrests have been made and the case has been referred to the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office, which will determine whether to file criminal charges, Hernandez said.

A biography of the mayor on the website 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. The couple also have daughter, it said.

Crespo was elected in 2001 to the City Council of Bell Gardens, a predominantly Hispanic town about 10 miles (16 km) southeast of Los Angeles, spanning about 2-1/2 square miles with a population of about 45,000.

Besides serving as mayor, Crespo had worked as a Los Angeles County deputy probation officer for the past 15 years, according to his biography.

(Reporting by Steve Gorman; Additional reporting by Eric M. Johnson from Seattle; Editing by Alison Williams)