The February shooting of a Camp Pendleton Marine sergeant by an Orange County Sheriff’s Deputy has been deemed justified.
The Orange County District Attorney’s office released its findings Friday in the case of the deputy-involved shooting death of Sgt. Manuel “Manny” Loggins, Jr., who was killed in the parking lot of a high school back on Feb. 7.
According to the DA, the deputy who shot Loggins, Deputy Darren Sandberg, will not face any charges. After months and months of investigating and a detailed 13-page report, the DA said the shooting was justified.
On that early February morning, investigators say Loggins crashed his SUV through a gate at San Clemente High School. His two daughters, ages 9 and 14, were in the back seat at the time.
Deputy Sandberg was nearby in his squad car working on reports when he saw Loggins speeding down the street and then turning into the parking lot where he crashed through the gate.
The deputy ordered Loggins to stop and get out of the car, but Loggins ignored the commands. He got out of the car and walked away, toward an athletic field.
The deputy approached the girls in the car, and they allegedly told sheriff’s personnel that their father had been acting oddly.
Meanwhile, Loggins, who was not in military uniform, could be heard in the nearby field yelling irrational statements and behaving erratically.
When Loggins returned to the car he allegedly continued to ignore the deputy’s orders. Deputy Sanders then opened fire on Loggins, later stating he feared for the children’s safety.
The 13-page report released Friday by the DA gives more on what happened based on patrol video from Deputy Sandberg’s car.
The report said, in part:
“Deputy Sandberg exited his vehicle, drew his handgun from his holster and can be heard on the in-car audio giving Loggins commands to stop.”
The report also said Loggins walked back to his SUV as Deputy Sanders, with his gun pointed at Loggins, commanded: “Get your hands up! Don’t get in that car or I’ll shoot you.”
Loggins failed to listen and got back in the car. When Sandberg saw Loggins' rear brake lights illuminate, he shot his firearm at Loggins three times.
Sandberg told investigators he feared for Loggins' daughters, saying: "I'm looking at if he leaves here with those kids, those kids are gonna get hurt. Either end up in a chase, I don't know if he's going drive them to the brick wall."
Investigators found that although in hindsight the shooting may have been prevented, there wasn’t enough evidence to prove Deputy Sandberg's conduct violated criminal law.
Loggins, a 31-year-old father of three with a baby on the way at the time of the shooting, had no criminal history.
He’s been fondly remembered by family and friends as a respectable family man who would often have early-morning bible study at the high school track with his daughters.
His widow has filed a wrongful death suit against the Orange County Sheriff and county.
On Friday, Camp Pendleton Brigadier General Vincent Coglianese released a statement regarding the findings from the Orange County DA.
The statement read:
“The death of Sgt. Loggins is tragic and unfortunate. While we respect the investigative process by the District Attorney's office, we continue to provide support to the Loggins family and they remain in our thoughts and prayers."