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O.C. to pay $4.4 million settlement in deputy's slaying of Marine

Orange County authorities said this week they will pay $4.4 million to settle a federal lawsuit brought by the family of an unarmed U.S. Marine sergeant fatally shot by a deputy.

The shooting of 31-year-old Manuel Loggins Jr., a married father of three, occurred before dawn on Feb. 7, 2012, in the parking lot of San Clemente High School.

Loggins was at the wheel of his GMC Yukon with two of his daughters inside when he crashed through a school gate about 4:40 a.m., authorities said.

A devoutly religious man, Loggins had recently been taking his family on prayer walks on the school's athletic field.

Deputy Darren Sandberg, a 15-year veteran of the Sheriff's Department and a former Marine, heard the crash and drove up to investigate, according to records.

Loggins left his daughters, aged 14 and 9, in the SUV and walked to the athletic field carrying a Bible.

When Loggins returned to the SUV, Sandberg ordered him to stop and show his hands, but he ignored the deputy and displayed a "mean" expression, authorities said.

"Give me my kids back," Loggins said, according to authorities. After Loggins climbed back into the SUV, Sandberg shot him three times through the window.

Authorities said Loggins' family was on a religious fast, that he was off his medication for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and that he had been on the field the day before yelling, "Get away, Satan!"

A lawyer for the Loggins family said investigators held Loggins' daughters for 13 hours after the shooting.

In September, prosecutors said the shooting was tragic and possibly preventable, but Sandberg had acted reasonably and had done nothing to warrant criminal charges.

Sandberg said he acted out of concern for the girls' safety.

Sandberg was not certified to use a Taser, and told investigators that he did not use a baton because he feared that Loggins, who had a weightlifter's build, would overpower him.

Loggins was based at Camp Pendleton.

The lawsuit accused Sandberg of using excessive force. County spokesman Howard Sutter said the $4.4-million settlement amount had been finalized, and was to be paid Wednesday.

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christopher.goffard@latimes.com

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