3 Drivers Say Man Charged In 'Stand Your Ground' Shooting Death Threatened Them
CLEARWATER, Florida - Officials, in court documents, have cited three other drivers who said Michael Drejka threatened them during confrontations that preceded his parking lot run-in with Markeis McGlockton -- a case that revived debate over Florida's "stand-your-ground" law. Two of them said he displayed a gun.
A black man who drives a septic truck told Pinellas Sheriff's Detective George Moffett that he parked in the same handicapped-accessible spot three months before McGlockton's July 19 videotaped shooting, the court documents show. The man said Drejka, 48, began yelling at him and said he would shoot him.
The driver said he left, but as he pulled away, Drejka shouted racial slurs. The man's boss told Detective Moffett that Drejka later called, telling him "that he was lucky he didn't blow his employee's head off."
In separate 2012 cases, drivers reported that Drejka waved a gun at them during road rage confrontations. In both cases, officers stopped Drejka and found a gun in his car, but he denied showing it to the other drivers.
On Tuesday, a Florida judge kept bond at $100,000 for Drejka, who was charged with manslaughter in the fatal shooting of a 28-year-old McGlockton, a black man who shoved him outside a convenience store in a dispute over parking.
Judge Joseph Bulone in the Pinellas County court said that if Drejka posts bail, he must surrender all of his guns to the sheriff, wear an ankle monitor and not leave the county. He said he didn't have the money to hire a private attorney, which means a public defender will be appointed.
McGlockton's girlfriend, Britany Jacobs, was seated in the couple's car on July 19 with two of their children, ages 3 years and 4 months, when she said Drejka confronted her for being parked in a handicapped-accessible space. McGlockton had gone into the store with the couple's 5-year-old son, also named Markeis.
"I can tell my kids now that the police got the bad man," Jacobs said, following the brief bond hearing. She was one of several family members who attended. "I'm still answering their questions about when daddy is going to wake up. And all I can tell them is, daddy is resting right now."
Video of the July incident showed McGlockton leaving the store and shoving Drejka to the ground. Seconds later, Drejka pulled a handgun and shot McGlockton as he backed away. McGlockton then ran back into the store clutching his chest. Witnesses said he collapsed in front of young Markeis, who was waiting inside. McGlockton later died at a nearby hospital.
"The charges are only one step in this journey to get justice for the unbelievable killing of Markeis McGlockton in front of his children," said Benjamin Crump, the family's attorney. "They understand when you look at the history of the state of Florida and stand your ground that this doesn't equal a conviction. All of America is watching Clearwater, Florida to see if there will be equal justice for Markeis McGlockton ... If the facts were in reverse, nobody would doubt what the outcome would be."
Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri originally declined to charge Drejka, saying one day after the shooting that the man was protected by Florida's stand-your-ground law. The sheriff passed the case to prosecutors for a final decision.
The McGlockton family said Monday the manslaughter charge provides them "with a small measure of comfort in our time of profound mourning."
"While this decision cannot bring back our partner, our son, our father, we take solace in knowing our voices are being heard as we work for justice," the family said in a statement.
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