Things That Matter

Years After She Was Shot By Police, Vanessa Marquez’s Wrongful Death Lawsuit Has Finally Been Settled

Photo courtesy IMDb

Finally, there is a conclusion to the tragic tale of Vanessa Marquez’s death. More than two years after the “ER” actress’s fatal shooting by police officers, her mother has finally found peace.

Vanessa Marquez’s mother has finally reached a settlement in the wrongful death suit she filed against the city of South Pasadena in California.

Both Marquez’s mother, Delia McElfresh, and South Pasadena agreed to a settlement of $450,000 “in order to save the parties the costs associated with protracted litigation.” McElfresh originally sued the city for $20 million in damages as well as to cover her daughter’s funeral expenses.

The lawsuit read, in part: “Their armed presence, coupled with the attempted removal of Ms. Marquez from her home against her will, was a militaristic, menacing, and threatening response to a frail and visibly debilitated woman who was exercising her right to remain in her home. Ms. Marquez’s death was the result of overreaction, excessive use of force, and gross mishandling of the situation.”

Marquez was known for her role as nurse Wendy Goldman in the first three seasons of “ER”. Her breakout role was as student Ana Delgado in the film, “Stand and Deliver”. She also had guest spots on hit shows like “Seinfeld” and “Melrose Place”.

The story of Marquez’s death is a tragic one. Marquez was shot to death by police officers after she pointed a BB gun at them. The officers were trying to get her psychiatric care.

On Aug. 20, 2018, police officers arrived at Marquez’s house at the request of one of her friends who was worried about her. As soon as the police arrived, Marquez began to have seizures. According to the officers present, they tried to reason with her for more than 90 minutes before they told her they were placing her on a psychiatric hold. At that point, Marquez pulled out a BB gun and pointed it at the officers.

The officers left her apartment and Marquez followed them, still pointing the replica gun at them. It was at that point that the officers fired 12 rounds at Marquez. She was taken to the hospital where she was pronounced dead.

The story is yet another example of how mentally ill people are at risk of losing their lives if they come in contact with police officers at the wrong moment.

The city of South Pasadena originally cleared the officers of any wrongdoing. “In this incident, the evidence demonstrates that Carrillo and Perez actually and reasonably believed Marquez posed an imminent threat of great bodily injury or death,” the city’s District Attorney said.

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