Vanessa Marquez was shot and killed by police officers during a welfare check on August 30, 2018. Marquez’s friend had called the fire department to check on her because they were concerned about her well-being. The 49-year-old had been suffering seizures and was lying in bed when the police arrived.
Police have just released the bodycam footage of her death. The South Pasadena Police Department posted the video to its YouTube channel. The full video is seven minutes long as it is part of a community briefing, and it is copied below.
Viewers are warned that the contents of the video are graphic and may be disturbing to some.
The Bodycam Footage Shows Hoarding Living Conditions & a Mental Health Visit Before Things Escalated
The footage begins when officers arrive at her apartment. Viewers can see that her home is full of clutter, which police described in the video voice-over as “hoarding conditions.” After speaking with her, a mental health clinician is brought in to assess her.
Marquez was heard telling officers to not take her to the hospital in the video. Things escalated when the authorities told her they were placing her on a 5150 psychiatric hold because they believed she was a danger to herself and to others. She answered, “I’m not going, I’m not going.” Marquez then grabbed scissors and a gun from beside her and officers retreated through the apartment.
In the video, cops are heard warning Marquez to drop her gun multiple times. Later, she said “kill me” with one officer replying “I’m not gonna kill you.”
The cops eventually opened fire. Just before she was shot, in the top left corner of the screen, the gun she was holding was visible. When the officers went up the stairs to check on her, the gun was also visible on the step. Police later determined the gun was a replica.
Marquez was rushed to the hospital where she died. The South Pasadena Police Department said, “it’s a tragedy and traumatic whenever officers use deadly force.”
The Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office Concluded the Officers Acted in Self Defense
According to the 18-page report released by the LA County DA’s office, officers Gilberto Carrillo and Christopher Perez’s “response was justified.” It concludes that they “acted in lawful self-defense and defense of others.” This report was released at the same time as the bodycam footage.
Police believe that it was Marquez’s intention to end her life. They say in the report that the evidence of her intention was in her final Facebook post, which she posted while in her room before confronting the officers with the replica gun. She wrote: “[They’re] shooting. Cremate me [and] pour ashes over Hollywood sign.”
She had also previously written on Facebook, on July 12, 2018, that she had bought a fake BB gun. The report states that she posted: “After I nearly got arrested in my own home trying to report my landlord, I bought a gun; a fake BB gun but it looks like a glock.”