A veteran Orange County sheriff's deputy feared for the safety of two young girls sitting in a parked car when he shot and killed a Marine sergeant in a dark high school parking lot, authorities said Friday.
Sgt. Manuel Loggins Jr. was shot Tuesday as he started to get into the SUV where his two daughters — ages 9 and 14 — were sitting, authorities said.
Jim Amormino, a spokesman for the Sheriff's Department, said the deputy was fearful that Loggins — who he said appeared to be acting irrationally — was about the drive off with the girls.
"The real threat that was perceived was the safety of the children," Amormino said.
"The deputy formed an opinion that he had a deep concern for the children, that he would not allow Mr. Loggins to drive away with the kids," Amormino said.
A former commanding officer said Loggins routinely went to the school during the early morning with his daughters to walk the track and read the Bible.
Amormino said that Loggins was not armed and that the incident doesn't appear to be alcohol- or drug-related.
About 4:30 a.m. on the day of the shooting, the deputy was doing paperwork inside his car near San Clemente High School when he said he saw Loggins driving a white Yukon at an "unsafe, high rate of speed" into the school parking lot, Amormino said.
The SUV, according to Amormino, crashed through a locked gate and the deputy pulled in behind him.
Loggins walked onto the football field, and about three to four deputies arrived to set up a perimeter, Amormino said. The deputies said they lost sight of Loggins for about five minutes, and when he reappeared, he walked toward the car and climbed inside, ignoring deputies' commands, Amormino said.
Amormino said that Loggins made statements to the deputy before he was shot. He would not elaborate.
The shooting is being investigated by the Orange County district attorney's office. The deputy, a 15-year veteran, is on paid leave, which is routine in shootings.
Loggins was from Joliet, Ill., and joined the Marines in 1998. He had a reputation as being a deeply religious man who put a premium on his family and his work.
Aaron Banks, 28, who served with Loggins for a year in Hawaii, described him as a "poster boy" for the Marines.
"He was everything I wanted to be as far as a Marine and a person," Banks, of South El Monte, said. "He basically schooled me up."
He said he and his colleagues are confused by the shooting. "We're all upset," he said.
Sgt. James Chavis, 28, who also served with Loggins in Hawaii, said he was equally surprised.
"Manny was not one of those people who disobeyed commands," he said.