Family of unarmed Marine killed by O.C. deputy gets $4.4 million

U.S. Marine Sgt. Manuel Loggins was fatally shot in a parking lot at San Clemente High School.
(U.S. Marine Corps)

Orange County is paying $4.4 million to settle a federal lawsuit brought by the family of an unarmed U.S. Marine sergeant who was shot to death by a deputy in a school parking lot, the county said Wednesday.

The fatal 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.

Authorities said that about 4:40 a.m. Loggins was at the wheel of his GMC Yukon, with two of his daughters in the vehicle, when he crashed it through a school gate.


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, ages 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 he climbed back into the SUV, Sandberg shot him three times through the window.

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


A lawyer for the Loggins family said that investigators held Loggins’s daughters for 13 hours after the shooting.

In September, prosecutors said the shooting was tragic and possibly preventable, but that 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 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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Twitter: @LATChrisGoffard