Actress Vanessa Marquez, who had a recurring role in the NBC medical drama ER in the 1990s, was shot and killed on Thursday by South Pasadena police officers after she reportedly pointed a BB gun at them during a welfare check. She was 49.
According to a report from Variety, Marquez's death was confirmed on Friday, one day after officers were called to her home to "check on her welfare." At around 12 p.m. on Thursday, the officers found her suffering from seizures and seemingly "unable to take care of herself," which prompted them to call a team of medical professionals, including a team of paramedics and a mental health specialist, for further assistance.
"While speaking to her, officers became aware she was possibly suffering from mental health issues, became uncooperative, and appeared to be unable to care for herself," read a statement from the South Pasadena Police Department, as quoted by USA Today.
"They continued to speak to her for over an hour and a half in an attempt to offer her medical care."About 90 minutes later, Marquez allegedly pulled out a BB gun and pointed it at the police officers, which led them to open fire on the former ER actress. Speaking to reporters, Sheriff's Lt. Joe Mendoza remarked that Marquez appeared to be dealing with "mental problems" and looked "gravely disabled" at the time of the incident. As further noted by Variety, Vanessa Marquez was best known to TV viewers in the 1990s for appearing in 27 episodes of ER as nurse Wendy Goldman. Aside from TV roles in other series such as Malcolm & Eddie and Wiseguy, Marquez also appeared in a number of films, including the 1988 biopic Stand and Deliver, which starred Edward James Olmos in the lead role as famed East Los Angeles math teacher Jaime Escalante.
The Los Angeles Times recalled in 2010 that Marquez's character in Stand and Deliver, a student who struggled with her grades because she was forced to work at her father's restaurant, was the only teenage character in the film who was based on one of the real-life Escalante's students.
While Vanessa Marquez's acting career slowed down in the 21st century, as shown on her IMDB page, she made entertainment headlines in October 2017 when she claimed to have been racially and sexually abused by some of ER's regular cast members and accused another co-star, George Clooney, of helping get her "blacklisted" from Hollywood, according to TheWrap. Clooney later issued a statement to media outlets, denying Marquez's allegations and explaining that he was not involved in any casting decisions that might have negatively affected his former co-star's career.