The deputy who shot and killed an unarmed Marine sergeant after a predawn traffic stop said the Marine was acting so "irrationally" that it seemed dangerous to let him drive away with his two daughters, an official said Friday.
So when the Marine -- later identified as Sgt. Manny Loggins Jr. of Camp Pendleton -- climbed back into his GMC Yukon and turned the ignition, the deputy opened fire, according to Jim Amormino, a spokesman for the Orange County Sheriff's Department.
Amormino stressed that he was merely relaying statements made by the deputy to investigators and "not defending" what happened.
"This was a very tragic event, we all feel bad for the family," Amormino said.
The deputy, a 15-year veteran, told investigators he was parked at San Clemente High School writing reports when he spotted Loggins driving "at a high rate of speed" before turning into the lot and crashing into a gate near the football field.
The deputy pulled up behind Loggins and radioed for backup. It was about 4:40 a.m. Tuesday.
Loggins, 31, stepped out of the Yukon and walked off into the darkness toward the football field, ignoring a series of commands made by the deputy. His two daughters, ages 9 and 14, remained in the vehicle.
Other deputies soon arrived and formed a perimeter around the back end of the football field in case Loggins was trying to flee, Amormino said. Because it was dark, nobody could see where Loggins was.
"About five minutes later, Loggins walked back toward the Yukon," Amormino said.
The deputy issued "a new set of commands" which Loggins again didn't follow, Amormino said.
"Due to Loggins' failure to follow the commands and his irrational behavior, including statements he made, the deputy had a deep concern for the safety of the children," Amormino said. "In the deputy's mind, it was unsafe for [Loggins] to drive away with the girls."
Amormino said he couldn't disclose what the alleged "irrational" behaviors or statements entailed, but said Loggins didn't appear to be intoxicated.
When Loggins got back into the Yukon and either started the engine or began trying to drive away, the deputy opened fire, shooting Loggins through the driver side window, which shattered. (The girls were in the back seat and not injured.)
Amormino acknowledged that this version of events differs from , in which the deputy reportedly opened fire because he feared for his own life.
"The real threat was for the lives of the children," Amormino said Friday. In a case like this, "some information becomes immediately available and some takes longer to get because witnesses have to be interviewed," he noted.
Amormino said this account came from the deputy who fired the shots. Another deputy was nearby, but "I don't know what he saw," Amormino said.
Loggins' daughters were also interviewed by investigators, but Amormino said he didn't know what they said or if their story lined up with the deputy's.
In addition, KABC-TV said the incident was taped on the deputy's dashboard video camera.
"Whatever the truth is will come out," Amormino said, noting that "a complete and thorough investigation" would be conducted by the Orange County District Attorney's office, which investigates all officer-involved shootings.
Results of the autopsy on Loggins probably won't be made public for a few weeks, after toxicology tests are finished and the sheriff reviews the findings, he said.
, describing the Illinois native as a kind and faith-filled Christian family man who would never disobey authorities or jeopardize the safety of his daughters.
Feb. 14 UPDATE: Deputies union issues a statement defending the shooting. .