A story for every victim

Vanessa Marquez, 49

Vanessa Marquez, a 49-year-old Latina, was fatally shot by police officers Thursday, Aug. 30, in the 1100 block of Fremont Avenue in South Pasadena, according to Los Angeles County Sheriff’s investigators. 

Marquez was an actress who starred as student Ana Delgado in the 1988 film “Stand and Deliver,” and appeared regularly as nurse Wendy Goldman on the popular television medical drama “ER” between 1994 and 1997.

About noon on Aug. 30, Marquez’s landlord asked the South Pasadena Police Department to check on her welfare because he was worried about her health, said sheriff’s Lt. Joe Mendoza. 

Three officers and a mental health clinician who was working with the officers went to Marquez’s home and noticed she was having “brief” seizures, Mendoza said. 

They called paramedics, who came to help Marquez, he said. The seizures ended but Marquez was not cooperative and refused to be taken to the hospital, he said.

The mental health clinician spoke to Marquez for 90 minutes, trying to convince her to get some medical help, Mendoza said. 

“They could see she was suffering from mental health issues and was unable to care for herself,” but forcing her to go to the hospital “would be kidnapping,” he said. 

While they were talking, Mendoza said, Marquez pulled out a hand gun.

“It was just out of the blue,” he said. “She just reached in close to where she was sitting, produced this gun and then got up and walked toward the officers.”

Two officers fired at Marquez, who was struck “at least once” by gunfire, Mendoza said. 

When the officers later inspected her gun, they realized it was a replica designed to shoot BBs, he said. The red tip on the gun had been removed, so it was difficult to determine that it wasn’t real, Mendoza said. 

Marquez was taken to a nearby hospital where she was pronounced dead at 2:36 p.m., according to Los Angeles County coroner’s records. Sheriff’s investigators have put a security hold on the autopsy results until they finish their investigation into the shooting, meaning the coroner’s office can’t make those results public. 

Investigators plan to review the video on the body cameras the officers were wearing. They are also talking to friends and family, trying to understand the motive for Marquez’s actions. 

“She took some purposeful actions that led to this shooting,” Mendoza said. “So that’s the riddle. ... What was going through her head?”

In recent years, Marquez used social media to reference her struggles with celiac disease and seizures, The Times reported. She wrote on Facebook in March that she was “terminally ill.”

Marquez made headlines in 2017 when she accused her “ER” co-star George Clooney of helping to derail her acting career, a charge Clooney denied. 

Toni McGhee, one of Marquez’s friends, said in a written statement that Marquez was having conflicts with her landlord and lived in constant fear of being evicted, The Times reported. 

“She told me she wouldn’t mind passing away at home and haunting the beautiful building she lived in, as she was in love with where she lived,” McGhee wrote. 

Anyone with information is asked to call the sheriff’s Homicide Bureau at (323) 890-5500. Those wishing to remain anonymous should call Crime Stoppers at (800) 222-8477.  

Contact the Homicide Report. Follow @latimeshomicide on Twitter.

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