Attorney: Wife shot Bell Gardens Mayor Crespo in self-defense

ByMiriam Hernandez, Rudabeh Shahbazi and Hanna Chu via KABC logo
Thursday, October 2, 2014
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The attorney for Levette Crespo on Wednesday asserted the right to self-defense in the fatal shooting of Bell Gardens Mayor Daniel Crespo.

BELL GARDENS, Calif. (KABC) -- The L.A. County District Attorney's Office is still deciding whether to file charges in what investigators are calling an incident of domestic violence in the shooting death of Bell Gardens Mayor Daniel Crespo.

The police radio call came in around 2:30 p.m. Tuesday that Daniel Crespo, 45, had been shot multiple times. Police say his wife, Lyvette Crespo, pulled the trigger after the two got in an altercation at their town home.

"The son tried to intervene, and there was a physical struggle between father and son," said L.A. County Sheriff's Lt. Steve Jauch. "Ultimately, the wife produced the firearm. That's when she shot her husband."

Lyvette Crespo was detained and spent several hours talking to investigators before she was released. So far, no charges have been filed. The couple's 19-year-old son, who had injuries to his face, also voluntarily answered investigators' questions.

"Domestic violence is a real issue. We hope the D.A. validates that a woman has a right to defend herself when her life is in danger," said Eber Bayona, attorney for Lyvette Crespo and her son, in a statement.

Law enforcement sources told Eyewitness News that the mayor legally owned the gun that was used, and police had never received a call from the home regarding any domestic disturbance. Friends and relatives also say they never saw any signs of trouble.

William Crespo, Daniel's brother, said he talked to Daniel in the early morning hours before the shooting. William said the couple had been out somewhere all night.

"He said, 'I was tired, I'm going to go home and take a nap,'" William Crespo said.

Sheriff's investigators say hours later, the shooting occurred. William Crespo said he rushed to the hospital when he heard the news.

"I went over there to give him a hug and a kiss and comfort my brother, and I found out that she shot him six times, and they told me he was dead, that they couldn't do anything," he said. "I love my brother, and I love my nephew and niece, and I love my sister-in-law, but I just want justice."

Daniel Crespo's primary job was as a deputy probation officer. He had an unblemished career for 21 years. L.A. County Chief Probation Officer Jerry Powers offered trauma counseling for Crespo's co-workers and asked all to withhold speculation.

"This is a tragic situation however it may have occurred. A family is no longer complete, and we have lost a co-worker and friend," Powers said in a memo to employees. "This is certainly a tragic reminder that family violence can happen anywhere."

Daniel and Lyvette Crespo had been a couple since high school and were married for 28 years. Friends described Lyvette as quiet and nice.

"It's a tremendous tragedy and I'm going to miss him, and I think everybody in the community is going to miss him a lot," said Elba Romo, a former Huntington Park city councilmember.

Lyvette Crespo's attorney planned a news conference for Thursday in Bell Gardens.