Those who knew Sgt. Manuel Loggins Jr. said he was a mentor, a deeply religious man who wanted to help others.
Fellow marines credit him with showing them how to be a good father.
His friends said that the marine had taken his two daughters to San Clemente High School for a Bible study early Tuesday morning. It was there that he was shot by an Orange County Deputy who initially claimed his life was threatened.
Authorities said Sgt. Loggins was acting irrationally, refusing orders and the deputy deemed him a threat to his daughters when he got into the car with them.
"The perceived threat in the deputy’s mind was that the girls would be in danger, if he allowed him to leave," said Jim Amormino of the Orange County Sheriff’s Department.
Amormino confirmed that Sgt. Loggins did not have a gun and was shot in front of his daughters.
"Mr. Loggins did get into the driver’s seat. They were in the back seat," he said.
In his 15 years with the Marine Corps, officials said Sgt. Manuel Loggins was never deployed but received numerous commendations and good conduct medals.
"Anybody that knew him will tell you he’s very soft spoken, very non-confrontational, very respectable," said Major Christopher Cox of the U.S. Marine Corps. "[He] respects authority, and just was always willing to help and do the right thing."
Sgt. Loggins was studying to be a nurse at Stanbridge College, where the school’s CEO, Yasith Weerasuriya, described him as a caring soul.
"Just a calm, collected individual," Weerasuriya said. "Even when he said hello he had a gentle kindly manner."
Sgt. Loggins wife is expecting the couple’s fourth child.