A welfare check by the South Pasadena Police Department Thursday turned fatal when the distraught and disabled woman officers were checking on allegedly pulled out a “BB-type” gun, causing an officer to open fire in response, according to police.
While police have only described the victim as a 49-year-old Hispanic woman, a source identified the woman as Vanessa Marquez, an actress and former regular on the popular TV drama ER who also had several film credits, including “Stand and Deliver.”
No officers were injured in the incident.
Marquez was shot at least once in the torso and treated briefly at the home on the 1100 block of Fremont Avenue and rushed to a local hospital, according to police who did not confirm Marquez’ identity, as they were in the process of contacting next of kin. Police say she was pronounced dead at the hospital.
Lt. Joe Mendoza, of the L.A. Sheriff’s homicide bureau, described the incident to reporters during a 5 p.m. press conference, saying officers were called to the scene by a landlord who reported that the woman was in some kind of trouble. Police said they had been called to the woman’s residence in the past for help.
“At the time [of the shooting] there was an LA County mental health clinician here with the officers,” Mendoza said. “They began to communicate with her, she became very uncooperative and during that contact she armed herself with a handgun, she pointed it at the officers and an officer-involved shooting occurred.”
The Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department is investigating the incident, which is routine for all officer-involved shootings that occur in cities within LA County.
Police say the shooting unfolded shortly before 2 p.m., inside the two-story, craftsman-style home. Police said the home was divided into three apartments and the victim lived in one of the units.
Mendoza said they later recovered a BB-style gun that “resembled a semi-automatic handgun.”
Mendoza said the woman “was undergoing some medical problems, some seizures, it appeared that the female was gravely disabled.”
He added: “I don’t have any more specific details due to the fact that officers have not been interviewed as of this time.”
When asked, Mendoza could not recall when the last officer-involved shooting occurred in South Pasadena, a small town known for its award winning schools, safe streets and historic properties.
Being a tight-knit community of about 25,000 people, word of the shooting and the woman’s death spread quickly.
Police officers on the scene cordoned off a one-block area along Fremont Avenue, blocking access to one next door home and several homes directly across the street. Neighbors and onlookers gathered near the crime scene tape, trying to get a clue as to what had happened.
“This looks terrible,” one unidentified woman said at the scene. “Does anybody know what happened?”
Marquez has appeared on a long list of popular TV movies and shows, including the role of Ana Delgado in the film “Stand and Deliver.” Her more recent work was playing Nurse Wendy Goldman on the popular NBC drama ER, from 1994 to 1997.
On her Facebook page, Marquez has written about her struggles with celiac disease and seizures.
The actress made national news last October when she took to Twitter and accused her ER co-star, George Clooney, of helping to blacklist her from the drama series in 1995. Clooney denied the allegations.
She retweeted an article in which Clooney condemned former film mogul and accused rapist Harvey Weinstein for the swirling accusations of sexual misconduct surrounding Weinstein.
“Clooney helped blacklist me when I spoke up about harassment on ER,” she tweeted at the time. “Women who don’t [sic] play the game lose career.’ I did.”
She also retweeted a previous post of hers, which included a photo from from the set of ER and remade some serious accusations, including that she was “racially and sexually harassed on set daily. She stated that she was blacklisted soon after reporting her accusations to a producer on the show.
Clooney has denied any involvement in the blacklisting of Marquez. Blacklisting is the practice of labeling an actor or actress or other industry professional as hands-off for hiring or other work.
Witness and source accounts about Marquez paint a picture of a kind and talented woman who was beloved by friends, but who had battled health issues as of late.
Police Advisory Published:
Advisory: OFFICER INVOLVED SHOOTING
On August 30, 2018 at about 1:49 am, South Pasadena Police officers responded to the 1100 Block of Fremont Avenue for a welfare check. During the course of investigation, a confrontation with a subject ensued and an officer involved shooting occurred. The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department will be conducting the investigation.