- Associated Press - Thursday, October 2, 2014

BELL GARDENS, Calif. (AP) - An attorney for the wife of a suburban Los Angeles mayor who was fatally shot at his home said Thursday his client was a victim of domestic violence but he gave no details of how that might have played a role in the deadly incident.

Lawyer Eber Bayona said Lyvette Crespo has cooperated with authorities since the outset and was released after questioning.

There has been no arrest and no criminal charges thus far.

“I think the evidence will corroborate that she has been a victim of domestic violence for many years,” Bayona said.

Los Angeles County sheriff’s officials say Lyvette Crespo shot her husband, Bell Gardens Mayor Daniel Crespo, several times Tuesday after he got into a physical altercation with their 19-year-old son. The 45-year-old mayor was pronounced dead at a hospital.

Sheriff’s spokeswoman Nicole Nishida said there were no prior calls concerning domestic violence at the home.

William Crespo, the mayor’s brother, said the allegations were a lie. He said he wants his sister-in-law to be charged with second-degree murder, adding that she knows how to use a gun.

“He doesn’t know what he’s talking about,” he told reporters about Bayona. “He’s trying to make up … you know, make my brother look bad, when my brother’s not a bad man.”

“I don’t know why she didn’t call 911,” he said.

Bayona told reporters that looks may be deceiving.

“In this case there may be an opportunity to learn about the difficult and intolerable home life for this family,” he said without providing specifics.

Claudia Osuna, a lawyer for the Crespos’ adult son and daughter, said her clients were standing by their mother. She stated that the son also was a victim of domestic violence.

A biography on the Bell Gardens website said the Crespos were high school sweethearts who married as teenagers in 1986.

Authorities believe the two were fighting when their son, Daniel, tried to intervene and got into a struggle with his father, sheriff’s Deputy Crystal Hernandez said. 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 southeast of Los Angeles. 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.

Bell Gardens City Council members serve part-time and rotate the mayor’s position among themselves.

Crespo, first elected to the council in 2001, was a Los Angeles County deputy probation officer.

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AP writer Robert Jablon in Los Angeles and AP video journalist Raquel Maria Dillon contributed to this report.

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