I remember actress Vanessa Marquez vividly from the Chicano classic film Stand and Deliver. Her character represented a lot of what Latinas have to endure. Her character, like many of us, aspired to be greater than what her environment could provide. Marquez was also a lot like her character in real life, not that I her personally, but you could sense she struggled with a personal issues. That is what makes her ending even more tragic. Today, the 49-year-old L.A. native was shot and killed by police inside her home in South Pasadena.
The details of behind her death are still slowly being made public, but what we do know is shocking. According to the Hollywood Reporter, the Pasadena Police Department went to her home for a welfare check. That means someone, even possibly Marquez herself, called the police asking them to check on her.
And they did.
The police went into her home where they found her having seizures, so they called for medical assistance, but then things allegedly turned even worse. “At some point, while speaking to Marquez, authorities say she became uncooperative and appeared to be possibly suffering from mental health issues,” according to the Hollywood Reporter. The police claim that Marquez was talking to them for about 90 minutes until she “allegedly retrieved a gun and pointed it at the officer.” The police then shot her and was pronounced dead at the hospital.
The gun that she was allegedly pointing at officers was a BB gun.
While the public hadn’t seen much of Marquez lately, she did have a pretty amazing body of work. Aside from her part on Stand and Deliver, she was also on “ER,” “Seinfeld,” and another classic Latino movie Blood In, Blood Out.
Last year, we reported that Marquez had also been part of the #MeToo movement and had taken a stand against sexual assault in the work place. In reference to her claim that actor Eriq La Salle and a crew member named Terence Nightingall sexually assaulted her, and actors Anthony Edwards, Noah Wyle and Julianna Marguiles made racist jokes at her expense, she tweeted: “Sexual(p–sy grabbing) & racial.Mexican jokes EVERY day. Happened to all the chose 2b victims. I fought! #Blacklisted.” Her Twitter account has been suspended.
Here’s a touching video that Marquez posted in June in which she captioned: “Be a friend. Reach out. It could save a life. #NationalSuicidePreventionHotline 1-800-273-8255.”