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Surveillance tape shows slain Marine's SUV

Video shows Sgt. Manuel Loggins Jr.'s GMC slamming through a gate at San Clemente High School, but not the events leading to his shooting by a sheriff's deputy.

April 04, 2012|By Nicole Santa Cruz, Los Angeles Times
  • The SUV belonging to Manuel Loggins Jr. is shown at the site where he was killed in San Clemente.
The SUV belonging to Manuel Loggins Jr. is shown at the site where he was killed… (KTLA-TV )

A grainy surveillance tape from the Orange County high school where a Marine sergeant was shot to death by a sheriff's deputy shows a white sport-utility vehicle slamming through a gate leading to the campus.

A Sheriff's Department patrol car enters the San Clemente High School parking lot a short time later, and three more squad cars and an unmarked unit follow, the tape shows.

The surveillance video, which was provided to The Times on Tuesday, captures what appears to be the minutes leading up to the fatal shooting of Sgt. Manuel Loggins Jr., a career Marine who died behind the wheel of his white GMC sport-utility vehicle with his young daughters in the back seat.

The tape, though, appears to do little to clear up the unanswered questions about what happened on the high school campus before dawn Feb. 7.

Much of the video, taken from a camera mounted on the side of the school's main gym, shows a parked squad car with lights on and deputies and emergency personnel walking onto the school grounds, sometimes pausing to speak or gesture. There is no audio. .

About 15 minutes after the white SUV is shown speeding onto the school grounds, emergency personnel can be seen pushing a stretcher onto campus. A short time later, the stretcher is wheeled out. It is difficult to tell whether there is a body on the stretcher.

The video shows that the sport utility vehicle pulled onto the campus at 5:42 a.m. Officials previously said they responded to the incident about 4:30 a.m. It was not clear why there was a time discrepancy.

The tape, which was released by the Capistrano Unified School District, does not show the apparent confrontation between Loggins, 31, and Deputy Darren Sandberg, the 15-year-veteran who shot the Marine.

Nor does the tape show Loggins' daughters, who were held for 13 hours by authorities after the shooting before being reunited with their mother.

Authorities contend that Sandberg shot Loggins out of fear for the safety of his daughters, 9 and 14. The Marine, officials said, was acting irrationally, refused to follow orders and started to drive off after he was ordered out of the car.

Marine colleagues and friends said Loggins was a law-abiding, deeply religious man who often went to the school during the early morning with his daughters to walk the track and read the Bible.

The shooting is being investigated by the Orange County district attorney's office, which does not comment on ongoing investigations. Sandberg's attorney did not return calls seeking comment.

Loggins' family has filed a claim with the county, typically a precursor to a lawsuit. Their attorney, Brian T. Dunn, said the video doesn't answer the central questions in the case.

"The issue that is important to the family is why was this man killed," he said. "Why was deadly force used?"

nicole.santacruz@latimes.com

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