On February 7, an Orange County deputy, still unnamed, fatally shot an unarmed former Marine in front of the latter's children while all three of them sat in the Marine's car.
Sgt. Manuel Loggins Jr. was driving at 4:45 a.m. with his two children and he had apparently crashed his van through a gate and ended up in a school parking lot. He then exited the van, stood on the football field for a while, and then started to return to the van, ignoring orders from the deputy (and three others who had arrived) to stop.
The deputy says he feared for the safety of Loggins' 9 and 14-year-old children because Loggins has been making "irrational statements" and was about to drive away.
Loggins' friends say he was an extremely religious man who liked to take his daughters for walks in the early mornings at that school and talk to them about the Bible. Former colleagues also say he was great soldier who always listened and obeyed orders.
Some news reports suggested that the deputy's fears for his own safety were what motivated the shooting. However, no weapon was found on Loggins and sounds like the safety of the children is being made out as the main motivation by police (not that it couldn't have been both). The deputy is now on administrative leave pending an investigation.
It's possible that Loggins was having some sort of nervous breakdown. It's even possible that his children were in danger. But since it it apparently needs to be repeated, what good are police if they can't help someone in mental distress and turn so quickly to lethal force? Where were the deputy's less-lethal weapons if these now-fatherless children really were in trouble? Considering some recent, nasty police incidents in Orange County, you have to wonder how this investigation is going to turn out. Shooting into a van when there are children in the back seat is a very desperate move. Hopefully it was justified. It certainly makes you wish for mandatory cameras on every police officer.
[Updated] It seems that the dashcam captured "the entire incident." I guess we'll see.
Reason.tv on the killing of Kelly Thomas by Fullerton, California police: