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Daniel Crespo, 42

Daniel Crespo (2014-09-30)

Daniel Crespo, a 42-year-old Latino, was fatally shot Tuesday, Sept. 30, in the 6300 block of Gage Avenue in Bell Gardens, according to Los Angeles County coroner’s records.

About 2:30 p.m., Crespo, the mayor of Bell Gardens, was in an argument with his wife, Lyvette Crespo, 43, when their 19-year-old son intervened, L.A. County Sheriff’s Department officials said. The mayor punched the teenager in the face, prompting his wife to grab Crespo’s handgun and shoot him three times in the upper body, said sheriff's Lt. Steve Jauch.

Jauch said that detectives were working to establish whether forensic evidence matched the account of the shooting, which was gathered from interviews with the mayor’s wife and son. Daniel Crespo Jr. and his mother had visible facial injuries that required medical treatment. When the mayor’s son was questioned by investigators, he backed up his mother’s claim that she shot Crespo to save the teen.

Lyvette Crespo was questioned and released without an arrest being made, according to sheriff’s officials.

All evidence will be presented to the district attorney’s office to determine whether charges will be filed, according to officials.

Lyvette Crespo’s attorney, Eber Bayona, told reporters that her husband’s death was a “very tragic loss for the family.” But, he said, his client had long been a victim of domestic violence — and was prepared to show investigators statements, photographs and other evidence.

The mayor’s brother denied the abuse allegations. William Crespo said his brother constantly worked on city business and didn’t spend much time at home.

“I never saw any evidence of that. Show me the evidence,” he said. “It has to be proven. She doesn’t want to go to jail — that is why she is saying that. I just want justice for my brother.”

Sheriff’s officials said there were no prior law enforcement calls to the family’s Gage Avenue condo, and neighbors told the Los Angeles Times that they hadn’t noticed any problems between the couple.

Anyone with information is asked to call the Sheriff’s Department Homicide Bureau at (323) 890-5500. Those who wish to remain anonymous can call Crime Stoppers at (800) 222-8477.

-- Los Angeles Times Staff

Update, Oct.7: A previous version of this post incorrectly spelled Lyvette Crespo's first name as Levette.

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