A Florida sheriff said Friday that his department will not arrest a White man who shot and killed a Black man after the two confronted one another over a handicap parking space, citing the state’s “stand your ground” law, the Tampa Bay Times reports.
The law protects those who use deadly force to defend themselves if they are in fear of their lives, and according to the sheriff’s office, this incident falls under the law, according to the Tampa Bay Times.
Michael Drejka, 47, shot and killed Markeis McGlockton, 28, on Thursday at a Circle A Food Store parking lot in Clearwater.
Law enforcement officials said Drejka confronted Britany Jacobs, McGlockton’s girlfriend, because she reportedly parked in a handicap parking spot, according to reports.
Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri said that McGlockton “slammed [Drejka] to the ground,” and that is when Drejka pulled out his handgun and shot McGlockton in the chest.
The incident “is within the bookends of ‘stand your ground’ and within the bookends of force being justified,” the sheriff said. “I’m not saying I agree with it, but I don’t make that call,” Gualtieri said, according to the Tampa Bay Times.
Drejka told police that he feared that he would be attacked again. He reportedly owned the gun legally and had a concealed carry permit.
“Our job and our role is not to substitute our judgment for the law and what the Legislature has crafted as the framework,” the sheriff said, “but to enforce it equally and fairly as we’re required to do.”
Jacobs told the newspaper that, “It’s a wrongful death. It’s messed up. Markeis is a good man … . He was just protecting us, you know?”
McGlockton and Jacobs have a 4-month-old, a 3-year-old, who were in the car, and a 5-year-old son, who saw Jacobs try to save his father by applying pressure to the wound, she told the Tampa Bay Times.
“He’s not too good. It comes and goes, but he knows he (his father) is dead,” she said.
“[Drejka] getting out like he’s a police officer or something, and he’s approaching me,” she said. “I minded my own business … I didn’t do anything wrong.”
A customer of the convenience store told the newspaper that he got into an altercation with Drejka months ago when he was questioned about parking in a handicap spot. He said that Drejka threatened to shoot him.
“It’s a repeat. It happened to me the first time. The second time it’s happening, someone’s life got taken,” Rick Kelly said. “He provoked that.”