SOUTH PASADENA (CBSLA) – A 49-year-old woman who was shot and killed by South Pasadena police during a welfare check Thursday afternoon has been identified as actress Vanessa Marquez.

An undated photograph of former “ER” actress Vanessa Marquez. (NBC)

Marquez pointed what turned out to be a BB gun at South Pasadena police officers Thursday afternoon, prompting them to open fire on her, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department reports.

Marquez had suffered seizures prior to being shot, authorities said.

Marquez had an extensive television and movie career. She is best known for playing Nurse Wendy Goldman for the first three years of the hit series “ER.”While appearing on that series, she said George Clooney had her blacklisted — an allegation he denies.

She also appeared in guest roles on “Seinfeld,” “Melrose Place,” and in the 1988 movie “Stand and Deliver.”

Marquez was also public about her health issues. On the A&E reality show “Intervention,” she talked about an intense addiction to shopping as well as depression and OCD.

CBS2’s Amy Johnson spoke to a delivery guy who said he often dropped food off to Marquez’ apartment. He said she had boxes all over the place and he thought she had to be a bit of a recluse who didn’t go out much.

At about 11:50 a.m. Thursday, South Pasadena police officers were called for a welfare check from a landlord in the 1100 block of Fremont Avenue for a female resident who was having a medical issue, according to the sheriff’s department. When they arrived on scene, they discovered Marquez suffering seizures and called for paramedics.

At the scene of the fatal shooting in South Pasadena. Aug. 30, 2018. (CBS2)

Officers, firefighters and a county mental health clinician spoke with her for more than 90 minutes, during the course of which she was uncooperative and they realized she was possibly suffering from mental health issues, the sheriff’s department reports. An L.A. County Mental Health Clinician was brought to the scene.

As they were speaking with her, a little before 2 p.m., she pulled out what looked like a handgun and pointed it at the officers, prompting them to open fire on her, the sheriff’s department reports.

She was rushed to a local hospital, where she died.

The gun was later determined to be a BB gun, designed to look like a replica semi-automatic handgun, LASD reports.

No officers were hurt during the incident.

The sheriff’s department is assisting South Pasadena police in the investigation.

On Friday afternoon, CBS2’s Johnson spoke to several of Marquez’ neighbors.

“This is just so sad,” said Anita King, “I’m just heartbroken.”

King dropped off flowers to Marquez’ front door.

“I’m so hurt, so sad. She didn’t deserve this,” King said.


Comments (5)
  1. Brandon Nichols says:

    Another ‘welfare check’ ending up with the person suffering mental health issues dead in a hail of police bullets. Something is systemically broken.

  2. Albert Wallace says:


  3. Walter Cox says:

    Anyone inclined to blame the police for this tragedy needs to realize that a replica gun pointed at a police officer is no different than a real gun pointed at a police officer. The officer involved are required to instantly respond with deadly force, to protect themselves and also to protect the public. This is an open and shut case of justified self-defense.

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