Marines vs. Sheriffs: the Case of the Killing of an Unarmed Pendleton Marine

by on February 17, 2012 · 26 comments

in Civil Rights, Military, Popular, San Diego

Screen capture of Sgt. Manny Loggins, Jr.

Have you been following the story about the killing of an unarmed Camp Pendleton Marine by an Orange County Sheriff, a little more than a week ago – up in San Clemente? It reportedly happened at 4:45 in the morning on February 7th.

The basic story line from the Sheriffs is that because Sgt. Manny Loggins was acting irrationally and endangering his two daughters who were in the back seat of the family’s SUV, a deputy alongside the vehicle shot him to prevent him from driving away and causing harm to the girls, aged 9 and 14.

Loggins had supposedly crashed his GMC Yukon through a gate in the parking lot of San Clemente High School early in the morning. Reportedly he then refused to comply with a deputy that confronted him; then he “disappears” into the darkness and upon his return, he got back into the vehicle and again refusing orders, was trying to drive away when he was shot. The girls, allegedly, told sheriffs that dad was “acting oddly”.

Right off the top, there are so many problems with this story, that when I first read it last week, I earmarked my brain to follow it as it developed. An unarmed Marine shot right in front of his daughters?

Screen capture of aerial view of the scene of the shooting at San Clemente High School.

And develop it did.  Let’s see if we can follow its twists and turns:

The U-T first picked the story up on Thursday, Feb. 9th – two days after the incident.

The U-T quoted Orange County sheriff’s spokesman Jim Amormino who laid out their basic story:

The incident began when a deputy, parked at San Clemente High writing reports in his car, witnesses a Chevrolet Yukon speed by the adjacent street, and then turn into the school’s parking lot, crashing through a gate.  The deputy – who has not been identified up to today – pulled his car behind the Yukon. The guy inside – Sgt. Manuel Loggins, Jr. – gets out, and according to the deputy, ignores his orders and walks off toward the athletic field.

Next, Loggins returned to his SUV. Either meanwhile or just then, the deputy radios for backup. At some point, the deputy open fires at Loggins.

According to Amormino:

“Something transpired where the deputy felt his life was in danger. The deputy fired, hitting Loggins. Loggins was taken to a hospital, where he died later. He was concerned that if he let Mr. Loggins drive off displaying that irrational behavior then the kids were in danger.””

Amormino – the Orange County Sheriff spokesman – said this on Feb. 9th. Loggins’ daughters were in the back seat of the Yukon, but neither they nor the deputy were injured.

Then the U-T – in the same article –  gave the Camp Pendleton’s emerging side and response story.

At first it was only the fact that Loggins had enlisted in October 1998, and had been assigned to headquarters and support battalion as a transportation management specialist. We find out that Loggins had received a number of Navy and Marine Corps decorations – but all were non-combat type of commendations, as he had not served in either Iraq or Afghanistan.

The next day – February 10th – , the story deepens.

The U-T reported that according to Loggins’ supervisor, Maj. Christopher Cox, the Marine sergeant “was deeply religious and regularly took early morning prayer walks with his daughters”. Cox told the LA Times that Loggins “was a devout Christian who walked at the San Clemente High School track with his family early in the morning (   Loggins’ wife usually walked with the family but had stopped going because she is pregnant, Cox said.  The Major continued:

 “He was a mentor, somewhat of a father figure, to a number of the Marines. He was very soft-spoken, very nonconfrontational – very, very respectful. He was just the epitome of respect.”

And true to form, the official story also developed. The same article in the U-T:

Authorities say a deputy tried to pull over Loggins for a traffic violation at about 4:30 am Tuesday when he drove through the school parking lot gate.   Authorities say Loggins ignored the deputy’s orders and when he walked back toward the SUV, the deputy feared for his life and fired.

 Okay, so now we have Loggins refusing to “pull over … for a traffic violation at about 4:30 am” and then while he “walked back toward the SUV” he was shot.   The deputy – still un-named – was placed on administrative leave.

Later that day – February 10th, Friday, we have more pushback by Orange County against the efforts by the Marines to paint a different picture of Loggins.  The U-T reports that on that day, Orange County sheriff’s spokesman Jim Amormino told them “Loggins did not respond to the deputy’s orders and yelled irrational statements that led the deputy to grow concerned about the children who were in Loggins’ SUV.  Amormino declined to specify what Loggins said, citing the pending investigation.”

So, Loggins was shot out of concern for the safety of his children, the two girls, 9 and 14, in the back seat.

That’s how the story was left for the weekend.  Then on this past Tuesday, the 14th – Valentine’s Day – the Association of Orange County Deputy Sheriffs entered the fray. They released new information about the case in order “to clarify initial reports”.  And their big info was that Loggins’ daughters had told the deputy just before their dad was shot that he had been “acting oddly”.

This news – that the girls spoke to deputies before the shooting – had not been initially released by the Orange County Sheriff’s Department.  The association said that the girls “could be heard screaming in the SUV, and when approached by sheriff’s personnel reported their father had been acting oddly.”

Not only that, but the deputy union furthered their clarification and stated that meanwhile, “Loggins could be heard in a nearby field yelling irrational statements.”   And when he returned, the statement said, Loggins allegedly ignored warnings by deputies not to start the SUV. Then he was shot. The deputy who shot him is a 15-year veteran of the department who previously served four years with the Marines, the union said.

Tom Dominguez, president of the association declared:

“It is heartbreaking that Manuel Loggins created a situation that put his children in danger and ultimately cost him his life.”

Then – to use the vernacular – the shit hit the fan. The Marines swung back on Thursday, February 16th.

First, the U-T  reported:

A friend who served with Loggins and considered him a mentor told The Los Angeles Times that he did not believe the union’s account of what happened.

“Of course they’re going to blame him for his death — why would they admit to murder?” Aaron Banks told the Times. “He would never hurt his daughters. He loved his daughters more than anything.”

Then Camp Pendleton’s commanding officer weighed in.

The commanding officer of Camp Pendleton said Thursday, Feb. 16th, that he is displeased at “incorrect and deeply hurtful” comments made about a Marine sergeant fatally shot by an Orange County sheriff’s deputy. Col. Nicholas Marano said in a written statement:

“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.”

This quote from Col Marano was widely published in the media. Here’s the LA Times report.  The colonel did not specify which comments he found incorrect. Nor did he mention the statement by the Assn. of Orange County Deputy Sheriffs earlier that had blamed Loggins.  Marano also stated:

“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. A family has lost their father, husband, brother and son. An unborn child will never know her father.”

So, it comes down to the Sheriffs versus the Marines.

The Sheriff association stated that Loggins had “walked into the dark, abandoning his daughters” inside the Yukon, and that they could be heard screaming, etc. And the story is that when Loggins returned, he refused demands to get out of the vehicle and instead started to drive away. He was shot to prevent this, etc.

Said Tom Dominguez, president of the association:

“The actions of our deputy clearly prevented serious harm from coming to Loggins’ two children and anyone else on the road that morning.”

 Also on Thursday, the 16th, the Mayor of the City of San Clemente, Jim Evert, jumped in.  The  San Clemente Times reports:

Mayor Jim Evert said today that he could understand Marano’s concern and to some degree frustration. Evert said he has spoken to the colonel directly.

“As a community that faithfully supports its neighboring Marines, this incident has shocked and saddened us,” the mayor said in a letter to the editor this week. “It is unfortunate and unusual to have news of this magnitude hit our community; therefore, I ask that we as a community keep the Loggins family in our thoughts and prayers.”

Then, boom, push back from the Deputy’s association.  President Tom Dominguez in a news release, responded by saying the association’s original statement had not been about character.

“Our statement was about the events of the morning of February 7, 2012 and nothing more. We issued the facts not a commentary on the character of any individual in this case. We await the results of the independent investigation.”

So, that is where things are now. Sgt. Loggins is dead, both sides are implicating the other, and somewhere in Southern California there is a new widow with three children, and one on the way. In the meantime, community leaders have come forward to help the Loggins’ family. And the story continues….

The Heritage of San Clemente Foundation and the San Clemente Chamber of Commerce are organizing fundraisers to create an educational fund for the children.

Contributions can be made through any branch of Farmer & Merchants Bank and donors can also mail their contributions directly to San Clemente Chamber of Commerce, c/o of Sgt. Loggins Childrens’ Memorial Fund, 1100 North El Camino Real, San Clemente, Calif. 92672. Checks can be made out to: Sgt. Loggins Childrens’ Memorial Fund. Contributions are not tax-deductible. For more information, email heritage@marinemoument.


{ 26 comments… read them below or add one }

Shane Finneran February 17, 2012 at 11:46 am

One of the most horrible stories of 2012 so far.

The silence from the cops is deafening. They have yet to explain thoroughly what happened, suggesting culpability.

In the comments on the LA Times, someone from England mentioned how the cops over there don’t carry guns… and when given the chance to vote on whether they should get guns, THEY VOTED NO.


john February 17, 2012 at 3:57 pm

We have WAY too many guns in this country.

Did anyone see the story on KGTV10’s page today about the gun toting “rancher” with the 250 acres at the border? I’m usually not a strong advocate for undocumented migrants but that one got my blood boiling. He’s got 10 ft high fences and concertina wire and walks around with an assault rifle, under the auspices of protecting himself from “smugglers”.
BULL huckey. He’s surely a sociopath who only owns that barren patch of land so he can play vigilante border patrol and hopefully commit legal murder. Drug smugglers don’t come here to kill people, just like the migrants all they want is to pass through with the least amount of attention and trouble. If they are armed it’s because they are afraid of people like HIM.
If you own a gun you are likely to get killed by a gun because you force those committing simple property crimes to have to use a gun to get away from you. You won’t always get the drop.
It’s a pipe dream but I would be perfectly happy to go back 300 years and destroy the invention in its infancy. As this is impossible they are a necessary evil, but not for me. Henry Rollins put it best, “guns are tools of the weak”.


Goatskull February 17, 2012 at 12:45 pm

At tragic as this is, it’s still best to wait more info to unfold before making harsh judgments on either side. According to the UT, one of the officers involved is a former Marine himself.


Andy Cohen February 17, 2012 at 1:06 pm

I agree, although it doesn’t look good for how the sheriff’s deputy handled it, and the spin put on it by the union smacks of cover up. I’m certainly no anti-union hack, but it’s cases like this one why people hate unions. This whole “we’ll defend our guy no matter what to the bitter end regardless of the facts” and attempts to spin everything in their guy’s favor really rubs people the wrong way. Defend the guy based on the facts and the facts alone, and if the facts won’t allow you to do that, then don’t say anything at all. Provide him with legal counsel, keep your mouth shut and don’t appear to take sides. The union spin in this appears to have made the situation much worse than it should have been.


rick trujillo February 17, 2012 at 1:57 pm

police union? of course you are kidding. and what do cops produce? law and order? a posse with labor laws to defend them, is more accurate, and injured on the job and don’t forget those ptsd sessions with high priced psychologists. stand by Clint, we may need you in another commercial, this time for tasers or for 357’s. think of every actor you know and ask yourself, did he play a cop? see how it works? it’s always about cops as victims. and then there are the ones who didn’t get videoed or caught. there is never a follow up in the news, ever except for a couple of sex fiends that couldn’t be overlooked. Spiffy uniforms, shiny boots, polished helmets, armed to the teeth………running wild with rock music in the background. after all the combat, where’s the balance sheet? and don’t forget all those candidates endorsed by law enforcement. The thing about this case is there is nothing new about this case, that’s a fact.


Lois February 17, 2012 at 1:28 pm

Oh my God! The inconsistencies abound. What a tragedy. How will all this be sorted out? I just don’t know what to say.


unWASHEdwalmaRtthONG February 17, 2012 at 2:25 pm

Pigs vs black man, that’s what you say.


Brent Thornton March 9, 2012 at 5:11 pm

Thats EXACTLY what it is. Still. After all these years. That cop was thinking some nigger in the dark at a school. The cop most likely didn’t know there were kids in the car till AFTER he fired, AFTER THEY STARTED screaming.


Goatskull February 17, 2012 at 2:44 pm

Maybe but how do you know the officer who shot is white? Just asking because I didn’t see a pic.


Frank Gormlie February 17, 2012 at 4:45 pm

Why didn’t the deputy just taser the Marine sgt like the 14 year old at Corriea was tasered.


Goatskull February 17, 2012 at 7:32 pm

Good question.


Annie February 17, 2012 at 5:17 pm

Is it crazy to think that not every shot that’s fired has to be fatal? If cops really feel like firing their gun is the only option, aren’t they aware that there are several non-lethal areas to aim for?

And besides, the cop says he was worried for the safety of Loggins’ children, but then he fatally shoots their dad right before their very eyes. So now it’s not physical harm that’s the concern, but mental.


Frank Gormlie February 17, 2012 at 5:21 pm

Annie, it’s the training. Police cadets are trained to shoot to kill. That’s the rule. We found this out during public reactions to police shootings in Ocean Beach.


Lois February 17, 2012 at 8:21 pm

They are trained to shoot to kill, but in what circumstances? The cop arbitrarily perceives EVERY unruly person a threat to his life? Is that what another poster meant that he thought if a gun was used, they had to empty that gun? But also, my mind questions me even though a person may appear unarmed, is there a possibility of grave danger from that person? Obviously, this shoot to kill is ingrained in every cop because it is taught and upheld. But is there something that justifies this training that we should know about? Does my question make sense?

Annie: There are other ways and non-lethal weapons to control unarmed, but aggressive people. But for the life of me, they are seldom used. Have you ever had knowledge that a cop was guilty of excessive force? Maybe there has been, but I have never seen it. I may be out of line saying this, but it seems the “shoot to kill” is meant for maximum control of citizens. Although I agree that the “shoot to kill” is correct if there is real danger of harm, along with protecting others that may be in the area. As Frank has said, there are too many things that don’t make sense in this case. I totally agree. The sad part is not only the death of this person, but when do we ever get the full story? Maybe if we spent our time going to trials we might find out the truth?


Johnny February 21, 2012 at 11:10 am

Only thing about that is, when you draw your weapon it’s a matter of life and death nothing more.. that’s the way your trained.. he should have been tased if anything… but if you break leather somebody is going to get seriously or fatally injured.. you only draw your weapon to eliminate the threat, not to shoot him in the leg .as sad as that can be….


Lois February 23, 2012 at 3:01 pm

Thanks for answering my question. Now I understand. The matter is, ” when you DRAW your weapon, it’s a matter of life and death.” So this incident has been deemed “a matter of life and death?” Who’s life and whose death in this action? A grave decision for the police. Not just knee-jerk reactions with after thoughts?


Frank Gormlie February 18, 2012 at 12:02 pm

This story was on the front page of today’s LA Times.


Andy Cohen February 18, 2012 at 12:27 pm

Here’s the link to the LA Times story:

In San Clemente, shooting divides Marines, deputies


Lois February 18, 2012 at 9:21 pm

Thank you Frank and Andy for the article. I feel pretty badly about what has happened, as everyone else. I can’t make a comment right now.


Lois February 23, 2012 at 3:46 pm

FRANK: As tragic as this story is, I do not find it an isolated incident. I will stick my neck out and ask, though none were killed at CC by police brutality, removing protestors bodily, and some incidents arresting them, and all other “mischief,” is this issue of police brutality gone and forgotten? It just happened, now protestors, let’s just move on to something else? Not ragging about OSD, but I just don’t understand this. The murder of this Marine Sergeant, and other police brutality across our country, is certainly an OSD/OWS issue. Not to mention some of what I personally observed at CC and the looks of hate on the police as they cruelly removed the protestors. I don’t want to be a protestor only when something happens once.




Alejandro February 18, 2012 at 4:11 pm

I come for the articles. I stay for the comments.


GRant February 18, 2012 at 7:53 pm

This is going on world wide,here in Australia 3 cops shot and killed a 15yo BOY who was upset and in need of medical treatment but was shot.It’s a running joke about going to Victoria(AU state) and making it home alive.The police here look like their just about to deploy to war.


Shane Finneran February 19, 2012 at 8:40 am

hey, Arizona got jealous of LA and had to contribute a sad police-homicide story of its own:

“The authorities are investigating a Scottsdale officer’s decision to shoot a man who was holding a baby, and officials pointed out that the same policeman had been involved in six previous shootings since 2002, five of them fatal.”


Mark Johnson February 20, 2012 at 4:49 pm

I have been disgusted by this police murder and PR cover up. What is the deal with hiding the officer’s identity? Why does this person deserve to be hidden from scrutiny?
The cops protect their own and the hell with any moral element. This is cold blooded murder covered with lies of convenience. They have dug in their heels and they are very busy as we speak creating evidence and a story, and training the cop.
I PRAISE the Marines for speaking out. They knew the man, and know that he was neither irrational or non-compliance, or a threat to anyone. We ALL know this. We just don’t know how to stop the insanity of the Southern Californians law enforcement thugs. As someone stated previously, the cops are outfitted for military combat and they clearly have a mindset that the citizens are the enemy. We as citizens are in serious trouble. I would take my chances with a criminal rather than contact the cops for assistance. That’s a sad commentary on our fascist regional governments. We have former Sheriff and Police Chiefs migrating to Mayor and other civilian leadership positions. In other words, we have a police state, and take advantage of their legal defense of “feeling threatened.” Wish we could have a strong African American advocacy presence in this area. Black people are badly abused by
law enforcement and this case is the most tragic ever. How do we stop these legal murderers?


Mark Johnson February 20, 2012 at 4:53 pm

PS. From the aerial photo above, there doesn’t seem to be any visible damage to the van that was alleged to have smashed through a security gate. By the time the cops are through, the gate will have damage and so will the van, that they took into custody for the “investigation.”


Goatskull February 21, 2012 at 6:35 am

Here’s some info on the actual trigger puller.


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