A white man, who took it upon himself to police a handicap spot outside of a store, shot and killed a black man who was defending his girlfriend Thursday, July 19.
Michael Drejka, 47, has had a history of harassing Circle A customers in Clearwater, Florida, who park in the store's handicap spaces, according to The Washington Post. This recent incident is the first time his harassment turned violent. Markeis McGlockton, 28, pulled into the parking lot so that he could purchase a few items. He left his girlfriend, Brittany Jacobs, and several children in the car, where Drejka was nearby.
McGlockton came out of the store and saw the man. An argument ensued between the two over the space, and he pushed Drejka on the ground. Drejka then pulled out a handgun and shot the 28-year-old in front of his family.
Reportedly, he “felt after being slammed to the ground, the next thing was he was going to be further attacked by McGlockton,” Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri said. “He felt the next thing was that he was going to be slammed again. He was going to be struck again, and he was in fear.”
Slate reports Gualtieri made sure to emphasize the power of the shove as if to justify Drejka's actions.
The Circle A owner, Ali Salous, told local news outlet Fox 13 he has repeatedly told Drejka not to bother customers, but he would not listen.
“It’s a repeat. It happened to me the first time. The second time it’s happening, someone’s life got taken,” customer Rick Kelly told the Tampa Bay Times. “He provoked that.” Kelly encountered the man a few months prior when he parked his tanker in the space.
Now, Jacobs vows to continue fighting for her partner while the case goes to the State Attorney’s Office for a final decision on whether charges will be filed.
"What’s relevant is not whether this guy’s a good guy, nice guy or whether he’s a jerk, or whether he’s a thorn in people’s side and what he’s done, whether it’s three weeks ago, three months ago or three years ago,” Gualtieri said. “What’s relevant and the only thing we can look at here is was he in fear of further bodily harm.”
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