CLOSINGS: View Closings

Manslaughter defendant in 'stand your ground' case said he felt scared in altercation

Michael Drejka, the Florida man who shot dead Markeis McGlockton after ...

Posted: Sep 4, 2018 10:59 AM
Updated: Sep 4, 2018 10:59 AM

Michael Drejka, the Florida man who shot dead Markeis McGlockton after McGlockton shoved him, said he feared for his life during the parking lot altercation.

"I was very scared. I've never been confronted like that, never been assaulted like that, if you will, ever," Drejka said in a recent jailhouse interview.

Crime, law enforcement and corrections

Crimes against persons

Criminal offenses

Disability and society

Disabled persons

Michael Drejka

Misc people

Shootings

Society

Criminal defenses

Criminal law

Homicide

Law and legal system

Manslaughter

Self defense cases

Stand your ground laws

Drejka fatally shot McGlockton after an argument with McGlockton's girlfriend over a handicapped parking space in July. Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri initially declined to arrest Drejka, citing the state's "stand your ground" law. But Pinellas and Pasco County State Attorney Bernie McCabe charged Drejka with manslaughter in August.

Drejka's interview last Friday with WTSP were his first public comments since his arrest. The sheriff's office released video of the interview over the weekend.

During the nearly 30-minute interview, Drejka said he believed he followed the "stand your ground" law and felt "vindicated" when Gualtieri initially didn't charge him. Drejka, who is white, seemed to express little remorse for fatally shooting McGlockton, who is black, and denied being a racist.

The altercation with McGlockton left him feeling stunned, like he had been tackled -- not shoved -- in the Clearwater parking lot, Drejka said.

Drejka said he "didn't know it was a shove."

"It felt like I was tackled, or someone hit me from behind with something. I left my feet, and slid along the ground," Drejka, 48, said in the interview.

Drejka's comments echoed what he told authorities, according to a copy of his criminal complaint.

Drejka, who has pleaded not guilty, was being held in the Pinellas County Jail. The sheriff's office said bail has been set at $100,000.

McGlockton, 28, died July 19 after the altercation between the two men. McGlockton's girlfriend, Britany Jacobs, had parked in the handicapped space and Drejka confronted her while McGlockton was in a store.

McGlockton came outside, approached Drejka and shoved him to the ground, surveillance video shows. Drejka pulled out a handgun and, as McGlockton backed away from him, shot him in the chest.

According to the criminal complaint, Drejka said McGlockton tackled him and he was afraid during the incident and fired in self-defense. But a detective wrote that Drejka was more than 10 feet away from McGlockton when he opened fire.

Drejka said he becomes frustrated when he sees people misuse handicapped parking spaces. A high school sweetheart, who is now deceased, became handicapped after an accident as a teenager, Drejka said. His mother-in-law is handicapped, too, he said.

"It's always touched a nerve with me ... the way they're abused and used," he said.

When asked if there is anything he would change about that day, Drejka said he didn't see anything he would change.

Drejka initially declined to address McGlockton's family directly when asked if there was anything he wanted to say to them.

"I really don't think this is the right place to talk to the family directly," he said.

Later in the interview, Drejka apologized to McGlockton's family.

"I'm sorry. That's all I can really say to them. ...Thinking about it, would you accept those kinds of words from someone? I don't think I would," he said. "I think there's too much hate already ... for me to be able to say anything that would make any kind of difference," he said.

McGlockton's father said his son was rightly standing up for his family and that there's no way the shooting could be justified.

"If you push a man down to the ground, that man does not deserve to be shot. Stand up and fight with your fists," Michael McGlockton said before Drejka was charged.

McGlockton's family has said Drejka "killed Markeis in cold blood without a second thought about the devastating impact his actions would have on our family," according to a statement released after Drejka was charged.

The family believed the manslaughter charge was appropriate, the family's attorney Michele Rayner said then.

What you need to know about 'stand your ground' laws

Florida's "stand your ground law," which is perhaps the strongest in the country, grants immunity to the person acting in self-defense. The state has to prove that a shooter didn't act in self-defense and is therefore not entitled to immunity.

Gualtieri's initial decision not to file charges caused critics to question whether the sheriff was correctly interpreting the law.

Drejka said he was "shocked" and "devasted' when prosecutors charged him.

"I followed the law the way I felt the law was supposed to be followed. I cleared every hurdle that that law had," Drejka said.

Click to Submit Photo

 

 

Huntsville
Overcast
57° wxIcon
Hi: 71° Lo: 59°
Feels Like: 57°
Florence
Overcast
58° wxIcon
Hi: 70° Lo: 58°
Feels Like: 58°
Fayetteville
Overcast
54° wxIcon
Hi: 69° Lo: 57°
Feels Like: 54°
Decatur
Overcast
56° wxIcon
Hi: 71° Lo: 58°
Feels Like: 56°
Scottsboro
Overcast
63° wxIcon
Hi: 73° Lo: 61°
Feels Like: 63°
WAAY Radar
WAAY WAAY-TV Cam
WAAY Temperatures

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 155915

Reported Deaths: 2674
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Jefferson23129377
Mobile16849315
Tuscaloosa10296140
Montgomery10197197
Madison928096
Shelby733863
Baldwin663769
Lee653465
Calhoun456761
Marshall438150
Etowah426551
Houston414834
Morgan412035
DeKalb338829
Elmore320053
St. Clair292542
Limestone284230
Walker277292
Talladega265335
Cullman244024
Lauderdale226242
Jackson214915
Franklin205231
Autauga204831
Colbert200532
Russell19443
Blount192525
Chilton186932
Dallas186527
Coffee176311
Dale175151
Covington174029
Escambia172530
Chambers135044
Clarke134317
Pike133513
Tallapoosa131787
Marion107629
Barbour10319
Marengo100822
Butler100740
Winston92213
Geneva9007
Lawrence85032
Pickens84718
Bibb82814
Randolph82316
Hale76730
Washington74412
Clay74112
Cherokee73314
Lowndes70928
Henry7086
Bullock64817
Monroe64610
Crenshaw60630
Perry5896
Fayette57413
Wilcox56712
Conecuh56113
Cleburne5568
Macon53420
Lamar4905
Sumter47221
Choctaw39012
Greene34216
Coosa2033
Out of AL00
Unassigned00

Tennessee Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 244087

Reported Deaths: 3100
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Shelby35753562
Davidson31206336
Knox1256189
Hamilton11618108
Rutherford11611112
Williamson697156
Sumner5948109
Wilson462956
Putnam440356
Montgomery411555
Out of TN389635
Madison374079
Sullivan365346
Bradley355823
Washington338850
Sevier332821
Blount330936
Maury321837
Unassigned29539
Robertson258941
Hamblen244548
Tipton232222
Dyer218930
Gibson213043
Hardeman186433
Coffee185323
Trousdale17687
Obion174121
Greene168451
Bedford168120
Fayette166723
Anderson166614
Dickson164819
McMinn161535
Loudon161211
Cumberland159525
Wayne15917
Lawrence158719
Jefferson153720
Carter152932
Weakley152325
Monroe144328
Warren142510
Lauderdale142317
Henderson140226
Hardin137919
Macon132425
Roane12857
Franklin127819
Haywood127227
Overton121316
Hawkins118825
White117514
Johnson11327
Carroll113025
Marshall11269
McNairy111227
Rhea109317
Cheatham104111
Cocke103514
Bledsoe10114
Campbell100011
Smith98413
Lake9833
Giles95135
Fentress90811
Lincoln8803
Crockett83320
Henry78110
Hickman77915
Marion7479
Chester72514
DeKalb72517
Decatur65511
Grainger6034
Grundy55311
Union5383
Claiborne5186
Polk50313
Jackson4525
Humphreys4404
Morgan4357
Benton4139
Houston40917
Cannon4082
Unicoi4043
Clay40113
Lewis3852
Scott3745
Sequatchie3422
Stewart32010
Meigs3076
Perry2912
Pickett2727
Moore2652
Van Buren2051
Hancock1173

Community Events