South Pasadena Officials Welcome Probe Into Vanessa Marquez’s Death

The former "ER" actress was shot dead by police who went to her home to conduct a welfare check.

NBC Bay Area

Officials in South Pasadena Saturday said they welcome two separate, independent investigations by the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department and the District Attorney's Office into an officer- involved shooting that killed an actress who had a recurring role in the medical drama "ER."

Vanessa Marquez, 49, was shot around 11:50 a.m. Thursday after police went to her home in the 1100 block of Fremont Avenue to conduct a welfare check. "We believe our officers acted appropriately under a tragic set of circumstances," City Manager Stephanie DeWolfe said Saturday.

"We are asking the public to respect the investigative process and allow the Sheriff's Department and D.A's office to gather and release the facts."

"We look forward to hearing the results of the investigation," Wolfe said. "In the meantime, we are asking the public to be patient and wait until the facts of the case are confirmed before making judgments about the incident."

Sheriff's officials said a county mental health clinician was with South Pasadena officers at the scene, and they spoke with Marquez "for over an hour and a half in an attempt to offer her medical care," said Sgt. Joe Mendoza of the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department.

She then armed herself with a handgun and pointed it at the officers, at which time an officer-involved shooting occurred, Mendoza said.

Mendoza said that after the shooting, "officers checked the weapon and they discovered it was a BB-type gun that resembled a semi-automatic handgun."

"She was suffering from some problems, eating disorder," Mendoza told reporters at the scene. "When they (officers) arrived, she was suffering a seizure."

No officers were injured.

"It is very unfortunate and sad that the August 30 incident involving one of our residents, Vanessa Marquez, ended tragically with the loss of her life. Our thoughts are with her family, friends, colleagues and fans during this difficult time," DeWolfe's statement continued.

"We support our officers and stand by them during this investigation. We believe the facts will show that our officers, along with a mental health professional, made every attempt to resolve the situation peacefully before the use of deadly force became necessary," DeWolfe said.

In addition to her role as nurse Wendy Goldman on "ER" from 1994-97, Marquez also appeared in the 1988 film "Stand and Deliver" and had guest roles on shows including "Wiseguy," "Seinfeld," "Nurses" and "Melrose Place."

She made headlines last year when she took to Twitter to accuse former "ER" star George Clooney of blacklisting her from the show for speaking out about alleged harassment on the set.

"Women who don't play the game lose career. I did," she wrote. She alleged she was racially and sexually harassed on the set.

Clooney denied having her barred from the show, telling E! News he "had no idea Vanessa was blacklisted."

"I was not a writer or a producer or a director on that show," he said. "I had nothing to do with casting. I was an actor and only an actor."

Copyright CNS - City News Service
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