Camp Pendleton’s commanding officer, Col. Nick Marano, criticized civilian authorities Thursday for their public response to last week’s fatal shooting of Marine Sgt. Manny Loggins Jr. by an Orange County deputy sheriff.
“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,” Marano said in a press release. “Many of the statements made concerning Manny Loggins’ character over the past few days are incorrect and deeply hurtful to an already grieving family.”
He added: “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.”
Marano’s statement follows a week of conflicting accounts and unanswered questions from the Sheriff’s Department, as well as critical remarks by the deputies union, which blamed Loggins for the incident.
Initially, law enforcement officials said the deputy opened fire out of fear for his own life. A few days later, they said the deputy shot an “irrational” Loggins to prevent him from driving away and possibly harming his two daughters, who were in the back seat.
“The information released to Marine Corps officials from the District Attorney’s office is the same information released publicly by Orange County officials,” said the press release from Camp Pendleton.
According to the unidentified deputy’s version of events, Loggins sped into the parking lot of San Clemente High School around 4:40 a.m. Feb. 7 and rammed though a locked gate in his GMC Yukon.
The deputy, who had been parked nearby writing reports, pulled up behind him. Loggins got out of the car, ignored the deputy's commands and walked off into the darkness. The deputy summoned backup units and, after hearing screams from the Yukon, found Loggins’ two young daughters in the back seat. The girls said their father had been acting oddly, according to the deputies union.
A few minutes later, Loggins returned to the vehicle, behaving “irrationally” and ignoring the orders of deputies who had their guns drawn, officials said.
When Loggins got back into the vehicle and began to drive away, a deputy shot him through the driver’s-side window, officials said.
Loggins died shortly after at Mission Hospital. The case is under investigation by the Orange County District Attorney's office, which investigates all officer-involved shootings. NCIS officials have said they are assisting with the investigation.