Attorneys for the mother of actress Vanessa Marquez, who had a recurring role on “ER” and was fatally shot by South Pasadena police during a confrontation last year, announced a damages claim against the city Wednesday.
Marquez, 49, was fatally shot around midday Aug. 30, 2018, after police were called to her home in the 1100 block of Fremont Avenue to conduct a welfare check.
According to sheriff’s officials, who assisted South Pasadena Police in the investigation, a county mental health clinician was with officers when they responded to the scene. Sheriff’s Sgt. Joe Mendoza said officers and the clinician spoke with Marquez “for over an hour and a half in an attempt to offer her medical care.”
She then armed herself with a handgun and pointed it at the officers, who opened fire, Mendoza said.
Mendoza said that after the shooting, “officers checked the weapon and they discovered it was a BB-type gun that resembled a semi-automatic handgun.”
“She was suffering from some problems, eating disorder,” Mendoza told reporters at the scene. “When they (officers) arrived, she was suffering a seizure.”
Attorneys for Marquez’s mother, Delia McElfresh, filed a claim against the city seeking $20 million in damages, alleging wrongful death, battery and other violations. A claim is a precursor to a lawsuit.
The attorneys made the announcement outside South Pasadena City Hall, where friends of Marquez also gathered to show their support for her family.
John Pope, spokesman for the city, confirmed that the claim had been received.
“The officer-involved shooting is currently being investigated by two independent entities — the sheriff’s department and the L.A. District Attorney’s Office,” he said. “We will not be commenting until the results of the investigations are complete and made available to the public.”
City Manager Stephanie DeWolfe said after the shooting the city welcomed the investigations.
“We believe our officers acted appropriately under a tragic set of circumstances,” DeWolfe said. “… We look forward to hearing the results of the investigation. In the meantime, we are asking the public to be patient and wait until the facts of the case are confirmed before making judgments about the incident.”
She added: “We believe the facts will show that our officers, along with a mental health professional, made every attempt to resolve the situation peacefully before the use of deadly force became necessary.”
In addition to her role as nurse Wendy Goldman on “ER” from 1994-97, Marquez also appeared in the 1988 film “Stand and Deliver” and had guest roles on shows including “Wiseguy,” “Seinfeld,” “Nurses” and “Melrose Place.”
She made headlines in 2017 when she took to Twitter to accuse former “ER” star George Clooney of blacklisting her from the show for speaking out about alleged harassment on the set.
“Women who don’t play the game lose career. I did,” she wrote. She alleged she was racially and sexually harassed on the set.
Clooney denied having her barred from the show, telling E! News he “had no idea Vanessa was blacklisted.”
“I was not a writer or a producer or a director on that show,” he said. “I had nothing to do with casting. I was an actor and only an actor.”
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