Union blames Marine killed by deputy for fatal shooting
The union representing an Orange County sheriff's deputy who shot and killed an unarmed Marine last week is now blaming the Marine for creating "a situation that put his children in danger and ultimately cost him his life," according to a statement released Tuesday.
The Assn. of Orange County Deputy Sheriffs released its statement after gathering information from the Sheriff's Department and the unnamed deputy's attorney. It purports to offer new details of the Feb. 7 confrontation that resulted in the fatal shooting of Sgt. Manuel Loggins Jr., 31, in the dark parking lot of San Clemente High School.
The union said Loggins could be heard uttering "irrational statements" after he crashed through a gate in his GMC Yukon about 4:30 a.m. that morning and left his two daughters, 14 and 9, in the SUV as he walked to the athletic field. Friends have said he frequented the track to walk with his children and read the Bible.
The union said the deputy is a 15-year veteran of the department and a decorated former Marine himself. He radioed dispatch to report a "child endangerment situation," the union said.
Other sheriff's personnel arrived and comforted the children, who said their father "had been acting oddly," the statement said. When Loggins abruptly returned to his SUV, he ignored orders not to start the car and instead put it in gear, preparing to drive "and further endanger the children."
The union said the deputy, positioned by the driver's window, fatally shot Loggins as he began to pull the vehicle forward.
"The actions of our deputy clearly prevented serious harm from coming to Loggins' two children and anyone else on the road that morning," union President Tom Dominguez said in the statement.
Loggins' friends and fellow Marines, who said they were baffled by the incident, described him as a deeply devout Christian who had received good-conduct medals for his military service. Aaron Banks, who served with Loggins and saw him as a mentor, said he didn't believe the union.
"Of course they're going to blame him for his death — why would they admit to murder?" he said. "I believe they're saying what needs to be said to cover their deputy."
-- Christopher Goffard in Orange County
Photo: Marine Sgt. Manuel Loggins Jr. Credit: Loggins family