In August 2018, ER star Vanessa Marquez was shot dead by police during a standoff in her home, and now disturbing video of the encounter has been released. Police bodycam footage from that fateful day was recently made public the South Pasadena Police Department — as shared by Newsweek — and it reveals that the TV actress was shot dead by police after pulling out what appeared to be a handgun and aiming it toward them. At one point, an officer says, "Vanessa, drop whatever is in your hand right now." Ultimately, she did not, and the officers fired, killing her.
The district attorney's office has released a memo on the shooting's investigation, which states that the officers acted in "lawful self-defense." The gun that Marquez brandished turned out to be an "all-black BB gun resembling a Beretta 92FS firearm."
The memo went on to read: "From the perspective of Carrillo and Perez, Marquez was armed with a firearm and acting erratically. Despite efforts to communicate in conjunction with fire commands, Marquez remained silent. She held the handgun in a manner that conveyed a readiness to use it and descended the stairs with that apparent purpose. 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 memo continued, then adding that the officers' response was "justified."
Shortly after the shooting, Lt. Joe Mendoza of the Los Angeles Sheriff's homicide bureau issued a statement on the tragic event, saying, "At the time [of the shooting] there was an LA County mental health clinician here with the officers. They began to communicate with her, she became very uncooperative and during that contact she armed herself with a handgun, she pointed it at the officers and an officer-involved shooting occurred."
In 2019, Marquez's family filed a $20 million wrongful death lawsuit against the city of South Pasadena, but there does not appear to be an update the status of the case at this time.
Former ER actor Eriq La Salle — who played Dr. Peter Benton — previously spoke out about his late co-star's death, writing, "We tragically lost a member of our ER family yesterday. Vanessa Marquez played a nurse when the show first aired. Sending out condolences to her family and friends. May she rest in eternal peace."