ER Actress Fatally Shot by Police Who Thought Her BB Gun Was a Handgun: Reports
ER actress Vanessa Marquez, who appeared for three seasons on the long-running medical drama as nurse Wendy Goldman, was reportedly identified as the 49-year-old woman authorities say was shot and killed by police in South Pasadena, California, on Thursday afternoon.
Marquez’s name and age were confirmed by the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department — who is leading the investigation of the officer-involved shooting — but a spokesman tells PEOPLE he could not confirm it was the actress who appeared in ER, Melrose Place, Stand and Deliver and other film and TV projects.
Sheriff’s officials said the woman killed Thursday was shot by South Pasadena police following a welfare check at an apartment complex for someone “who was possibly suffering from a medical condition.”
The situation on the scene deteriorated over the course of more than an hour, according to a statement from the sheriff’s department:
While responding South Pasadena officers did find a woman “having seizures” who was “possibly suffering from mental health issues,” the woman allegedly “became uncooperative” and “appeared to be unable to care for herself.”
A county mental health expert was brought in to assist and authorities “continued to speak to [the woman] for over an hour and a half in an attempt to offer her medical care,” the sheriff’s department statement continues.
The woman was described as seemingly “gravely disabled” by sheriff’s Lt. Joe Mendoza, according to the South Pasadenan.
She was shot and killed about 1:48 p.m. after she allegedly “armed herself” and turned the apparent weapon on law enforcement, sheriff’s officials said.
South Pasadena police fired on her and she was taken to an area hospital, where she was pronounced dead at 2:36 p.m., according to the sheriff’s department and a coroner’s spokeswoman.
An autopsy is pending.
The apparent weapon with which she had been armed, authorities said, was later confirmed to be a BB gun that looked like a semi-automatic handgun.
Officers were not harmed in the incident.
Further information about the shooting was not immediately available, including how many officers fired on the woman, the status of the officer or officers involved, their names and the extent of the woman’s fatal injuries.
A woman who answered the phone at the South Pasadena Police Department referred a reporter to the L.A. County Sheriff’s Department, who referred questions to their most recent statement on the case.
A spokeswoman for the L.A. County coroner could not immediately provide further details about the death investigation.
An email sent to the South Pasadena police chief was not immediately returned.