UPDATE, FEB. 24, 9:21 A.M.: A memorial for Sgt. Manuel "Manny" Levi Loggins Jr., the Marine shot to death by a sheriff's deputy, is scheduled this afternoon at Camp Pendleton.
However, the public and media are not invited to the service in the camp's chapel, at the request of the Loggins family, the Marines announced.
Financial help is being solicited for that family, which has a baby on the way. Send donations to: San Clemente Chamber of Commerce, c/o Sgt. Loggins Children's Memorial Fund, 1100 N. El Camino Real, San Clemente, CA 92672.
UPDATE, FEB. 22, 10:21 A.M.: With a former U.S. Attorney releasing a report Tuesday night on the Fullerton Police slaying of Kelly Thomas in Fullerton, just as San Clemente residents demanded a federal investigation into an Orange County sheriff's deputy fatally shooting U.S. Marine Sgt. Manuel Loggins Jr., what hope is there for the rest of us between those north-south poles?
But first, a special message from San Clemente Mayor Jim Evert: Everyone just calm the heck down.
Da Mayor was reacting to resident Wayne Richardson's call for a federal probe of perceived excessive force by deputies who patrol San Clemente under a city contract. Another Evert constituent, Tim Brun, asked for an FBI investigation into the Feb. 7 incident that ended with Deputy Darren Sandberg fatally shooting Loggins in his SUV with his daughters in the back.
Richardson said the shooting and other incidents around town make it clear he believes the mayor, the City Council and city staff have no authority over the Sheriff's Department, which Richardson wants "fired" and replaced with a local force. San Clemente disbanded its police agency in 1993.
Evert and Sheriff's Lt. Paul D'Auria, San Clemente's chief of police services, countered it is too early for such talk, urging critics to await an Orange County District Attorney's office investigation of the shooting.
Meanwhile, with the town and mayor having rallied around Loggins' family with emotional and financial support, Richardson requested that a city park be named after the fallen Marine.
ORIGINAL POST, FEB. 16, 2:30 P.M.: Camp Pendleton Marines are used to fighting enemies far, far away. But, acording to the camp's commanding officer, jarheads have one right in their own backyard: the Association of Orange County Deputy Sheriffs (AOCDS).
The rift centers on dueling--and unusual--statements to the media this week from AOCDS president Tom Dominguez and the camp Col. Nicholas Marano concerning a Marine sergeant who was recently shot and killed by an Orange County sheriff's deputy.
As the Orange County Sheriff's Department (OCSD) revised accounts of what happened in the San Clemente High School parking lot around 4:40 a.m. on Feb. 7, friends and family members of fallen Sgt. Manuel "Manny" Levi Loggins, Jr. expressed shock, describing him as a solid dad, pal, citizen, Christian and, especially, Marine.
Here are the basic facts: Loggins was driving his Chevy Yukon SUV with his daughters, ages 9 and 14, in the back seats. He was confronted by a sheriff's deputy and shot to death.
At first, the OCSD stated that Loggins was pulled over for a traffic violation and was shot outside the Yukon because the deputy feared for his life. The department later changed the account, saying the deputy watched Loggins crash through a school fence, get out of the SUV and walk away for about five minutes with the deputy in tow. Other deputies arrived to comfort the girls, but the Marine got back behind the wheel of the Yukon despite being ordered to stop. Loggins was shot while inside the vehicle because, the department now says, deputies feared for the lives of his daughters.
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As with all officer-involved shootings, the Orange County District Attorney's office is investigating. And, generally, that would be it as far as public disclosures, with public officials going mum until prosecutors release their findings that nearly always clear cops of wrongdoing--or at least state there is no evidence proving such.
However, the changing OCSD accounts and glowing remarks about Loggins have fueled public mistrust, such as this a retired war veteran anonymously sent the Weekly:
Perhaps with visions of another Kelly Thomas situation dancing in their heads, the AOCDS brass took the admittedly unusual step of releasing the following statement:
AOCDS issues statement on deputy-involved shooting
SANTA ANA, CA-February 14, 2012 -- The Association of Orange County Deputy Sheriffs rarely weighs in on open investigations into deputy-involved shootings. However, we believe it is important to correct certain inaccuracies in the facts of a deputy-involved shooting on February 7, 2012 reported by the Orange County Sheriff's Department.
On February, 7, 2012 at around 4:30 in the morning, Manuel Loggins Jr., 31, driving with his two daughters, 9 and 14, unseatbelted in the back seat of his GMC Yukon, plowed through a locked gate at San Clemente High School.
The force of the crash left sections of the gate embedded in the bottom of the Yukon and drew the attention of an on-duty sheriff's deputy who was in an adjacent parking lot writing reports. After coming to a stop, Loggins got out of the Yukon, ignored repeated orders from the uniformed deputy sheriff, and walked off into the dark, abandoning his two daughters left behind in the Yukon. The deputy began to follow Loggins on foot when he heard children's screams coming from the car. The deputy then returned to the Yukon, and found Loggins' two girls.
Loggins, now in a darkened part of the adjacent field, could be heard yelling irrational statements. The deputy radioed for immediate assistance, informing dispatchers of a hit-and-run accident and child endangerment situation. Additional Sheriff's personnel arrived and comforted the children in the back seat. Loggins' children told deputies their father had been acting oddly. A few minutes later, Loggins unexpectedly and quickly returned to his Yukon.
Deputies repeatedly ordered him to stop. Loggins did not stop, ignoring the deputies who now had their weapons drawn and got into the driver's side of the car despite multiple warnings. Deputies warned Loggins not to start the car. Loggins ignored these and repeated other warnings, started the Yukon and placed it in gear. It was then clear that Loggins was going to drive off and further endanger the children. As the Yukon began to move forward he was shot by the deputy next to the driver's window. The car was stopped, the children were removed and medical aid was rendered to Loggins, who did not survive.
"It is heartbreaking that Manuel Loggins created a situation that put his children in danger and ultimately cost him his life," said Tom Dominguez, president of the Association of Orange County Deputy Sheriffs. "The Manuel Loggins described by his friends and loved ones in the media is not the Manuel Loggins encountered by our deputies the morning of February 7, nor as described by the children to the deputies at the scene before he returned to the Yukon. It is unfortunate that his actions put his own children into immediate danger and resulted in his death."
"The actions of our deputy clearly prevented serious harm from coming to Loggins' two children and anyone else on the road that morning," Dominguez said.
The deputy involved in the February 7, 2012 shooting served honorably for four years with the United States Marine Corps. He is a 15-year veteran of the Orange County Sheriff's Department where he has twice been awarded the department's Medal for Lifesaving and the Medal of Courage.
AOCDS represents nearly 2,500 Orange County active and retired deputy sheriffs and district attorney investigators.
arano is upset right now that the AOCDS would essentially jump the gun before the investigation into the shooting concludes (let alone starts). This so chagrined the camp commander, who also takes issue with the descriptions of a beloved U.S. Marine, that he fired off a statement of his own today:
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Camp Pendleton statement regarding the ongoing investigation in the death of Sgt. Manuel Loggins, Jr.
CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. - On February 7, Camp Pendleton suffered the loss of Sgt. Manuel Loggins, Jr., a Marine stationed here as a Transportation Management Specialist. Sgt. Loggins was shot by an on-duty Orange County Sherriff's deputy in the vicinity of San Clemente High School and later pronounced dead at Mission Hospital in Mission Viejo, Calif., the same morning.
An investigation surrounding the shooting was initiated by the Orange County District Attorney's office last week and is ongoing. The information released to Marine Corps officials from the District Attorney's office is the same information released publically by Orange County officials.
"Sgt. Manny Loggins was a loved and respected Marine. We have received an unprecedented amount of emails and phone calls this past week from current and former Marines who knew and loved Sgt. Loggins," said Colonel Nicholas Marano, Commanding Officer, Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton. "A family has lost their father, husband, brother and son. An unborn child will never know her father."
Marano added, "While I am confident they will do the right thing in the end, I am less than satisfied with the official response from the City of San Clemente and Orange County. Many of the statements made concerning Manny Loggins' character over the past few days are incorrect and deeply hurtful to an already grieving family."
Loggins is a Joliet, Ill., native, who enlisted in the Marine Corps in October, 1998. He leaves a wife and four children, one of which has yet to be born.-USMC-
In light of Marano's counter-statement, Dominguez defended AOCDS to the Weekly.
"Our statement was about the events of the morning of Feb. 7, 2012, and nothing more," said the union boss, who also serves as a sheriff's department investigator. "We issued the facts not a commentary on the character of any individual in this case."
Dominguez concluded with something commonly heard during officer-involved shootings: "We await the results of the independent investigation."