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South Pasadena officials warn against 'preliminary judgments' after fatal police shooting of actress

South Pasadena officials warn against 'preliminary judgments' after fatal police shooting of actress
A reporter sits in front of the home where actress Vanessa Marquez was fatally shot by police. (Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times)

South Pasadena officials are asking the public to be patient as authorities complete their investigation into the fatal police shooting of “ER” actress Vanessa Marquez at her home Thursday.

In a statement released Saturday, city officials said they welcome two separate investigations that have been launched by county investigators but “caution against preliminary judgments about the incident.”

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“We believe our officers acted appropriately under a tragic set of circumstances,” said South Pasadena City Manager Stephanie DeWolfe. “We are asking the public to respect the investigative process and allow the Sheriff’s Department and D.A.’s office to gather and release the facts.”

Police were performing a wellness check on Marquez, 49, at the request of her landlord. When they arrived at her apartment Thursday afternon, sheriff’s officials said, she was having a seizure.

According to the Sheriff’s Department, officers and a county mental health clinician spoke to Marquez for more than 90 minutes but she was “uncooperative” when they tried to persuade her to accept medical attention.

Then, officials said, Marquez grabbed what they believed was a semiautomatic handgun and pointed it toward them. Two officers fired, striking her at least once in the torso, sheriff’s officials said.

Afterward, the officers determined the weapon Marquez had brandished was a BB gun made to look like a handgun.

Marquez, who was best known for her turn as nurse Wendy Goldman on the medical drama “ER,” also starred in the 1988 film “Stand and Deliver” about East Los Angeles math teacher Jaime Escalante.

DeWolfe, the city manager, offered condolences to Marquez’s family but said city officials believe the investigations will show that the officers and mental health professional “made every attempt to resolve the situation peacefully” before using deadly force.

Follow @cmaiduc.

Times staff writers Hannah Fry and Laura Newberry contributed to this report.

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