VIDEO: Bodycam Released From Shooting Of 'ER' Actress Vanessa Marquez
South Pasadena, CA – Police bodycam captured the moment when former “ER” star Vanessa Marquez pulled a gun on officers who responded to her home for a welfare check in 2018.
The incident began at approximately 11:49 a.m. Aug. 30, 2018, after one of Marquez’s out-of-state friends contacted the South Pasadena Fire Department to express concern for the actress’s well-being, the South Pasadena Police Department (SPPD) said in the video release.
The fire department alerted the SPPD, and officers headed over to Marquez’s Fremont Avenue apartment.
When they arrived at the scene, they discovered that Marquez’s home was in “extreme disarray due to hoarding conditions,” according to the SPPD.
Bodycam footage showed the officers as they struggled to open the front door of the home due to the items piled against it from the inside.
After calling out her name and receiving no response, the officers made their way further into the apartment.
When they found Marquez lying in her bed, she began screaming and claimed she was having a seizure, the video showed.
“Don’t take me to the hospital,” the 49-year-old actress whispered.
“Okay – we’re just making sure you’re okay,” the officer calmly responded.
Paramedics and a mental health treatment provider were called to the scene, and calmly spoke with Marquez about her medications, physical status, and mental health status for the next half hour, the SPPD said.
It was ultimately concluded that Marquez needed to be transported to Huntington Memorial Hospital for an evaluation.
One of the officers explained to Marquez that she was not under arrest, but that that she was “gravely disabled” and a danger to herself.
“I’m not going,” the actress replied, sitting upright in her bed. “I’m not going.”
She then turned and pulled a pair of scissors and a handgun out of the purse sitting in the clutter next to her.
The officer immediately alerted other first responders about the weapon.
“Oh s--t, she’s got a gun,” he warned. “She’s got a gun. Gun! Gun! Gun! Gun!”
Officers backed out of Marquez’s room and ordered her to drop the weapon, bodycam footage showed.
“Kill me!” she yelled.
“I’m not going to kill you,” the officer hollered back. “Drop the gun.”
The officer continued to back away, then made his way back down the staircase.
“In an effort to de-escalate the situation, officers backed out to provide time and space,” the PPD narrator said in the video.
They stayed towards the base of the stairs, and repeatedly tried to get Marquez to come down peacefully.
When she emerged from her apartment a short while later, she was still holding the gun.
“Vanessa! Drop whatever is in your hand! Right now!” an officer suddenly ordered.
But instead of complying, the actress began making her way down the stairs with the weapon held out in front of her and pointed down the staircase.
Officers opened fire, fatally wounding her.
Marquez was rushed to a local hospital, where she was pronounced dead.
Investigators later determined that weapon, which was found lying next to Marquez’ feet, was a replica, the PPD said.
According to police, Marquez had been suffering from problems associated with an eating disorder, and they had been called for assistance at her home on many occasions in the past, KABC reported at the time.
She also described herself as being terminally ill in multiple Facebook posts, according to the Pasadena Star-News.
Just three minutes before she headed down the stairs with the gun in her hand, Marquez made one last Facebook post.
“There shooting cremate me pour ashes over Hollywood sign,” she wrote.
The Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office determined that South Pasadena Police Officer Gilberto Carrillo and Officer Christopher Perez were justified in using deadly force against Marquez, the Pasadena Star-News reported.
“Carrillo saw the gun pointed in the direction of the officers and Perez described a situation in which Marquez could have ‘opened fire’ on them in an instant. Both officers, in that moment, actually and reasonably feared for their lives,” the district attorney’s office’s report read.
“The circumstances reasonably created in their minds a certain and imminent danger, and their response was justified,” according to the report.
South Pasadena Police Chief Joe Ortiz said that the officers did everything they could to help Marquez.
“They used every resource available in an attempt to get her the care she needed, but sadly the situation took a very tragic turn,” Chief Ortiz told the Pasadena Star-News.
Vicki Sarmiento, the attorney representing Marquez’s family in their $20 million wrongful death suit against the city, said that the actress’s family was devastated to learn that the footage had been released, Newsweek reported.
"Vanessa's mother feels it was irresponsible for video to be published without any pre-advisement to her,” Sarmiento said. “She is a grieving mother, and the city has never once contacted her to meet with her to explain the circumstances of her daughter's death. She feels further violated by the way she has been treated and disregarded."
In their lawsuit, Marquez’s family accused officers of unlawful entry, battery, false arrest and imprisonment, and other alleged wrongdoings, Newsweek reported.
Marquez, who was best known for her role as nurse Wendy Goldman in the NBC drama series “ER,” also acted in several films, including “Stand and Deliver.”
In 2005, her shopping addiction was featured in an episode of A&E’s “Intervention.”
During a Twitter rant in October of 2017, Marquez claimed she was fired from “ER” after she came forward about being the victim of sexual and racial harassment on the set, Heavy reported.
In addition to referring to actor Eriq La Salle and an “ER” crew member as “p---y grabbers,” Marquez also accused three other cast members of abusing her due to her “Mexican heritage,” Page Six reported.
She said another of her coworkers, actor George Clooney, had her blacklisted as an actress.
“I had nothing to do with casting,” Clooney responded, according to Heavy. “I was an actor and only an actor. If she told I was involved in any decision about her career then she was lied to. The fact that I couldn’t affect her career is only surpassed by the fact that I wouldn’t.”
In a Facebook post on Aug. 8, Marquez blasted Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey for shutting down her account, and again lashed out at Clooney.
“I’ll start a debate,” Marquez wrote. “George is gay and Scientology keeps him from living an honest life and EVERYBODY KNOWS IT. Yup. Went there. Not exactly in a they go low, we go high place anymore. Discuss.”
According to the Daily Mail, Marquez also made many social media posts about her medical issues in the past, and said she had been diagnosed with pulmonary embolism, osteoporosis, and terminal celiac disease.
You can watch bodycam footage of the officers’ encounter with Marquez in the video below: