Alice S. Hall/NBCU Photo Bank

Actress Vanessa Marquez in 1996 as Nurse Wendy Goldman in “ER.”

Friends of actor Vanessa Marquez were troubled to find that flowers they placed to memorialize her have been removed.  

A blooming orchid plant, a photo of the former E.R. actress placed in a protective cover along with an additional lovely bouquet and candle were placed on public property under a tree in front of the house where Marquez lived.  They wanted to mark the place that Vanessa loved and called home  and wanted others to take a moment to stop and think of her and what had happened a week ago.

But, on the same day they placed the flowers at that location  within a few short hours, they were gone. Upset that someone would disrespect a public memorial, a group of friends said they would return to replace what was taken and add more.    They have started a Facebook page “Justice for Vanessa Marquez,”   “You cannot erase Vanessa’s life as if she never existed,” one friend wrote on the social media site.  

At the same time, for those who were residents of the small city, they weren’t surprised.   After all, the  city of South Pasadena has enjoyed their buttoned down”Mayberry” image and work hard to maintain it. 

Vanessa Marquez, who played Anna Delgado in the film Stand and Deliver and various other roles and starred on “ER” as nurse Wendy Goldman, was shot and killed by South Pasadena Police, at the stairwell in her home last Thursday. Police said that the 49-year-old actress pointed what appeared to be a handgun at officers before they shot her, the sheriff’s department said in a statement, but later discovered it was a BB gun.

Since the shooting, there have been various accounts of the incident.  South Pasadena police officers released a news release indicating they were called to the home to conduct  a “welfare check” on the actress and found Marquez having seizures.  Lt. Joe Mendoza of the sheriff’s department’s homicide bureau told reporters that Marquez was “gravely disabled,” and said authorities attempted to offer Marquez medical care for over an hour and a half but she refused. A mental health clinician that was with the officers was not successful and it was when she pointed what appeared to be a handgun at the officers that an officer-involved shooting occurred andMarquez was killed, said police.

Her friends have many questions.  Most especially because the local police were aware of her poor health and frail condition and that she weighed less than 100 pounds.  Marquez who had been struggling financially may not have wanted to go to the hospital fearing that she would be faced with additional bills that she wouldn’t be able to pay.   Police reportedly were wearing body cameras and her friends want to see the video in its complete form. 

“I really think it’s important that they release the police body cam footage, my feeling is that it needs to be more transparent and it feels like they are already trying to  sweep this up and put this under the rug,” said longtime friend Kelly Stuart. ” If there was nothing wrong, if it was truly a justifiable shooting and simply a  tragedy they would release the tapes,” she said.   The police shooting has been turned over to the L.A. County Sheriff’s Department for an investigation and it’s been indicated that it will take six months to release the camera footage.  “It feels like waiting six month is a way to make people forget about her life,” said Stuart.   ” There is no need to withhold their footage.  They stall and take forever to diffuse public emotion.”  Marquez’ friends said they can’t and won’t forget her. 

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