Florida Sheriff Says Man in Fatal Parking Lot Shooting Will Not be Arrested Because of State’s ‘Stand Your Ground’ Law

Markeis McGlockton, 28, was shot and killed outside the Circle A Food Store in Clearwater, Fla., on Thursday. The shooter, Michael Drejka, was not arrested because of the state’s so-called Stand Your Ground law, the sheriff said.
Carl Lisciandrello/Tampa Bay Times

A man who shot and killed another man in Florida this week during an argument over a parking space will not be arrested or charged by the sheriff’s office because of the state’s so-called Stand Your Ground law, the authorities said.

Britany Jacobs, 25, was sitting in a car parked in a handicapped space outside a convenience store in Clearwater, Fla., on Thursday afternoon when a man, Michael Drejka, approached her vehicle and started looking for a handicap permit, Sheriff Bob Gualtieri of Pinellas County said at a news conference on Friday. Ms. Jacobs’s boyfriend, Markeis McGlockton, and their 5-year-old son were in the store when Ms. Jacobs and Mr. Drejka began to yell at each other about whether she was permitted to be in that space, Sheriff Gualtieri said.

In a video recorded on a surveillance camera, Mr. McGlockton, 28, exits the Circle A Food Store, approaches Mr. Drejka and shoves him to the ground. After Mr. McGlockton takes a few steps back, Mr. Drejka, 47, pulls out a gun and shoots him once in the chest.

Mr. McGlockton then retreats back into the store, clutching his chest. He was taken to the hospital, where he was pronounced dead, Sheriff Gualtieri said.

Sheriff Gualtieri said his office did not arrest or charge Mr. Drejka, who had a concealed carry permit, because of Florida’s Stand Your Ground law, which removes the obligation to retreat if a person feels threatened and frees the person to use deadly force “if he or she reasonably believes” it is necessary “to prevent imminent death or great bodily harm.”

The law was a national flash point after the acquittal of George Zimmerman in the 2012 fatal shooting of Trayvon Martin, an unarmed black teenager. The case reignited a debate about racial profiling and just treatment under the law.

In the recent Florida case, Mr. McGlockton, who was black, backed away from Mr. Drejka, who is white, after pushing him to the ground. Sheriff Gualtieri said this brief retreat gave him “pause,” but Mr. Drejka told the authorities that he was in fear that he was going to be struck again.

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SOURCE: NY Times, Julia Jacobs