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On Monday, authorities released body camera footage of the shooting death of actor Vanessa Marquez after authorities responded to an emergency medical call in August 2018.
A report from the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s office was also released, which said the two officers involved acted in self-defence when Marquez pointed a handgun at them after they responded to the call.
Police officers were called to Marquez’s home by a landlord to check on her welfare — reports say the 49-year-old appeared to be mentally unwell — and when they arrived midday, she was having seizures and appeared dishevelled and unable to care for herself. Officers called paramedics and a mental health specialist to the scene, and they continued to try to communicate with her for 90 minutes.
At one point, things escalated and Marquez armed herself with a gun and pointed it at the officers. It was later determined the gun was a replica firearm.
In response, the police claim, they opened fire, unaware at the time that Marquez wasn’t brandishing an actual handgun. This was later confirmed by Sheriff Lt. Joe Mendoza of the South Pasadena police. She was shot, and ultimately pronounced dead at the hospital.
The review released by the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s office on Monday determined that officers Gilberto Carrillo and Christopher Perez “acted in lawful self-defence and defence of others” and they will not be charged for the fatal shooting.
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The released bodycam footage shows police arriving at the former ER actor’s home, which they said was “in complete disarray due to hoarding conditions.”
They found Marquez in bed as she was screaming and she can be heard saying “seizure” and “don’t take me to the hospital.”
A South Pasadena peace officer told her she was not under arrest but she would be taken for an examination at Huntington Memorial Hospital.
Marquez can then be heard saying: “Oh, my God. No.”
The officer told her that she will be placed on a 5150 hold, which is an involuntary 72-hour hold, because she is a danger to herself.
Marquez reached into a bag and that’s when she presented what police thought was a gun. The police can be seen backing away and yelling “drop the gun” multiple times.
They ask the actor to drop the gun and come out with her hands up but Marquez approached the stairway with the gun, which is visible in the bodycam footage.
After she pointed the object at the officers, the police fired several shots in her direction and her body can be seen laying on the staircase.
Marquez’s family filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the city of South Pasadena in February 2019, seeking US$20 million in damages from the city of South Pasadena.
Marquez starred in the first three seasons of ER as nurse Wendy Goldman, appearing in a grand total of 27 episodes from 1994 to 1997. She went on to bit roles in the ’90s sitcom Malcolm & Eddie, and a little-known TV movie Fire & Ice.
She was also a subject in the second episode of Intervention in 2005, in which she admitted she was near bankruptcy and was addicted to shopping.
— With files from Chris Jancelewicz