... jumping to conclusions can lead to embarrassment and entrenchment. The initial reports will never have sufficient information, and sometimes, there are people better situated to assess the situation.
So, when I started reading reports that an Orange County California Deputy had fatally shot a serving Marine, in front of his daughters, I took a wait and see approach. Military and Police are fellow Sheepdogs, though, at times, the fraternity has been strained. Not every Veteran and not every Police Officer is Honorable, but the norm is that the average in both are risking their lives to protect Our Citizens. And when two Honorable Sheepdogs meet, the exchange should be one of mutual respect.
But that was not the case at Orange County's San Clemente High School. On 7 February 2012, at approximately 4:50AM, Pacific Time, a Deputy, who is also an Instructor in the Police Force, encountered an unarmed Marine NCO, with his two school age daughters. The Marine was shot to death by the deputy, in front of the Marine's children. Those are the facts. Other parts of the story are less clear, as the story has changed with time.
"Law enforcement sources say Darren Sandberg, a instructor who joined the sheriff's academy in 2011, was responsible for the Feb. 7 shooting at San Clemente High School that killed Sgt. Manny Levy Loggins." KTLA-TV, Los Angeles
From the OCSD Blotter:
2/7/2012 4:41:26 AM 2/7/2012 4:41:26 AM 12-022073 CAR STOP-EXPEDITE FOLLOW UP 700 BLK AVD PICO
"[2/7/2012 04:41:26 : pos5 : SHINEFM] Landmark Comment: 992J2 92672 AREA = 75 1ST TURN OFF INTO PLOT"
"A nearby deputy who'd been doing paperwork in his patrol car" As reported in LA Times on 10 Feb 2012, from statements made by Sheriff's Spokesman, Jim Amorino.
The police blotter does not indicate the Deputy had responded to or called in any other incidents in the previous few hours. This point may seem trivial, but it is not uncommon for an officer to find a place to park during the early morning hours when little is happening. I don't fault the officer if this was the case, except that it would begin a trail of deceit to cover his tracks.
Looking at the logic, from the point of view of one author, the shooting does not appear to be justifiable, particularly when one looks at the overhead imagery, and ground views, from Google Maps of the area. The deputy claims the Marine did not "stop immediately" after he had "crashed through a gate." The pictures of the vehicle demonstrates there is damage to the grill and fog light on the passenger side of the vehicle. Additionally, there are brown stains in an irregular pattern on the vehicles front-passenger bumper, in the picture of it on the tow truck and a piece or two of bent pipe, similar to that used for chain link fencing, with reflective tape on it. The overhead views of the scene prior to the vehicle being loaded show no evidence of the pipe. (See links at end for pictures of the SUV.)
It appears that the vehicle had recently hit a horizontally hanging piece of chain link pipe, but that pipe was not at the level which top rails or bottom rails of chain link fencing and gates are normally installed. The damage to the vehicle does not indicate a high rate of speed, as the pictures show no damage to the metal parts of the vehicle, only the plastic grill (and fog light which has dislodged) and the passenger side headlight cover. Alternatively, the pipe may not have been securely installed. The pipe however is pretzeled in a manner incompatible with the damage demonstrated to the vehicle in the pictures.
The brown stains do not appear to be the result of the same incident. It does not appear they were the result of an impact while the vehicle was moving, nor that the cause of the stains caused abrasions. It is possible that the stains occurred while the vehicle was being prepped for loading on the tow truck. Of course, it is also possible that they are the result of an impact with a dirty dog, or feral dog sized animal. Still, believe it or not, tow truck drivers don't take great pains to avoid damage to a vehicle when it is being impounded by police.
Alternatively, it is possible that the pole was loosely secured in a vertical manner that wrapped around his vehicle's front end. It is reported that there are holes for such barriers in the area he was traveling. For this to be the case, the hole for the pole would have to have been very shallow, as the impact would have put pressure on the pole in the hole in a manner that would have prevented it from pulling out, if properly installed. This type of galvanized pole is not designed to resist an impact, and in 10-12 foot unsupported sections will flex under the weight of a human. However, if properly installed will create damage in the light steel body of a vehicle.
Our Marine very likely did impact something that morning. He was probably agitated that it had occurred. He very likely stopped his vehicle as a result of that impact, or the police car. We know however that he was near a regular destination of his, at that time of the day. He regularly walked the track at the school, with his family. We do know that he stopped his SUV at the corner of the school and the entrance to the fields. It appears the Deputy was somewhere in the parking lot to the left of the school entrance road. According to police reporting, he got out of the vehicle, which would be normal for someone that hit something.
"[2/7/2012 04:41:26 : pos5 : SHINEFM] Landmark Comment: 992J2 92672 AREA = 75 1ST TURN OFF INTO PLOT"
"[2/7/2012 04:41:52 : pos5 : SHINEFM] Unit : 476 1 MB TOOK OFF ON FOOT THRU GATE " Blotter.
The time between the first entry and second entry is 26 seconds, when Our Marine has come to a full stop, and exited the vehicle. The Deputy would later state he was in a parking lot, completing paperwork, when he witnessed the hit & run. One would presume that he made the first call to dispatch at about the same time he put his vehicle in gear. Twenty-six seconds would be about the same amount of time it would likely take him to move his car from the school parking lot to the final resting place of the Marine's SUV. At this point, one should presume the Deputy saw Our Marine, as he has described him as a Black Male, (MB).
The Department has characterized SGT Loggins as "driving at a high rate of speed" and failing "to stop immediately." The problem is that 26 seconds after the first call, the "Black Male" has already stopped his vehicle, and walked away. He has traveled approximately 300 feet at maximum from where the officer would have potentially first seen him. That is NOT high speed, nor an unreasonable amount of time to have come to a complete stop, even if the officer had arrived at the vehicle by the time SGT Loggins had walked away.
This wasn't the first "Hit & Run - Misdemeanor" of the night. Earlier, another unit had searched for 3 Juvenile Non-Black Hispanic Males in an unknown vehicle that had possibly hit 3 poles, on Avenida Pico, approximately 3 miles away, near Camino La Pedriza. That had resulted in a call for a flatbed tow truck. That incident was cleared at 1:14AM, 3 1/2 hours earlier, with no calls from the officer involved in this incident. The suspects were a different race, a different age, but this could also be the source of the pole in the Marine's incident. If the pole ended up in the road, already bent, it could have caused the damage to his vehicle if he ran over an end of it with his tire. It would explain the damage and lack of damage, as well as how it may have ended up under his vehicle. Or, it could be completely, unrelated.
It would be normal, for the Marine to be upset at having hit something, damaging his expensive SUV, and he would not necessarily have known a police officer was in the area. It would be normal for him to assess the damage, and to wish to step away from his young daughters to vent his anger, verbally. This could easily have occurred within the 26 seconds, before the Deputy arrived at the stopped vehicle.
[2/7/2012 04:44:58 : pos5 : SHINEFM] Unit : 476 WANT IS HIT AND RUN AND CHILD ENDANGERMENT
[2/7/2012 04:46:55 : pos5 : SHINEFM] Unit : 476 REQ OCFA (Blotter)
Three minutes and 6 seconds later, the Deputy had made his 3rd call. "Took Off" as previously reported does not make clear whether the Marine has walked into the field, or ran, though it implies the latter. In the earlier hit & run, the reporting officer stated the juveniles "ran," not walked or "took off." The windows of the SUV are tinted and it may have taken the Deputy the 3 minutes to "clear the vehicle," most likely with weapon drawn, on the young girls. The blotter does not specify how the children are "endangered." Is this because two children are in a vehicle that has hit something? Is it because they are upset? Why would they be upset? They are in a vehicle that has just hit something. Their father is likely upset and just walked off into a field swearing. And they are now confronted with a Police Officer that is hyped up on adrenaline, and possibly pointed his weapon at them, while he cleared the vehicle. Yes, a 9 year old and a 14 year old girl are going to be upset at this point. It has been less than 5 minutes since their father hit something, and they are now alone with a Police Officer.
But two minutes later, at 4:46 AM, the Deputy requests assistance. This could be to hunt down "the fugitive" or because the Marine has returned. The blotter doesn't annotate which.
[2/7/2012 04:50:14 : pos5 : SHINEFM] 10-39 OCFA
[2/7/2012 04:50:53 : pos5 : SHINEFM] Unit : 4A32 1 IC
[2/7/2012 04:56:57 : pos5 : SHINEFM] Unit : 4S70 MEDICS 97
"When Loggins turned and headed back to the Yukon, the deputy suddenly felt threatened and opened fire, Amormino said." LA Times 10 FEB 2012 Sheriff's Spokesman (link above)
"Sgt. Manuel Loggins Jr. was shot early Tuesday as he started to get into the SUV where his two daughters -- 9 and 14 -- were sitting, authorities said." LA Times 10 FEB 2012
"When Loggins abruptly returned to his SUV, he ignored orders not to start the car and instead put it in gear, preparing to drive "and further endanger the children." LA Times 15 FEB 2012, Union Representative
At any rate, four minutes after the officer has requested assistance, another officers is calling in, and soon they are requesting medical assistance. It appears that by this time, Our Marine is bleeding out, in front of his children. The claims by the Deputy's representatives have differed. In one report, it is stated the Marine is outside the vehicle. In another that he is inside the vehicle. In a 3rd, it states he is getting in the vehicle. What does not differ is that the Marine is unarmed. No weapons were reported on his person, or in his vehicle.
[2/7/2012 05:08:20 : pos5 : SHINEFM]Unit : 473 AND 476 EN RT SUB
It is now time for the Deputy to "leave the scene." Less than 30 minutes after his first call and 12 minutes after the Emergency Medical personnel are called, the Deputy and another officer are en route to the Police Substation.
[2/7/2012 05:21:45 : pos5 : SHINEFM] Unit : 4A32 10-97 MISSION 10-1 AREA
[02/07/2012 05:25:33 : pos16 : MCFADDENGC] PIO WILLBE ENR
At this point, the department seems to understand there is a problem, a PR problem. They are sending out the PIO less than 45 minutes after the first call from the Deputy.
[2/7/2012 05:28:18 : pos5 : SHINEFM] Unit : 4S70 REQ 6 RESERVES
[2/7/2012 06:14:21 : pos13 : SHINEFM] SC AFTER HRS SERVICE ADVSD
[2/7/2012 07:05:56 : pos5 : HOVDEBM] MOVING ALL UNITS TO Y-TAC-S2
Less than 2 1/2 hours into the incident, the department is already pulling everyone in for a tactical debrief.