The Florida gunman who killed a convenience store customer over a handicapped parking spot had a history of making threats toward others.
Michael Drejka, left, was arrested Monday and charged with manslaughter in the shooting death of 28-year-old Markeis McGlockton in the parking lot of a convenience store in July.
Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri initially refused to arrest Drejka, citing Florida’s controversial “stand your ground” law that allows licensed gun owners to use deadly force against another if they feel threatened — even if the other person is unarmed.
The shooting occurred on July 19 after Drejka confronted McGlockton’s girlfriend Britany Jacob over parking in a handicapped spot. Surveillance camera footage shows McGlockton shoving Drejka to the ground. Drejka then produced a handgun and shot McGlockton in the chest as he was backing away.
“I can tell my kids now that the police got the bad man,” Jacobs said after Drejka’s bond hearing on Tuesday. “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.”
According to the NY Daily News, Drejka had a history of threatening people for parking in the same handicapped parking spot.
Months before McGlockton’s shooting, a man told law enforcement that Drejka threatened him and shouted racial slurs at him after he parked in the handicapped spot.
The man’s boss told sheriff’s Detective George Moffett that Drejka called him and told him “that he was lucky he didn’t blow his employee’s head off.”
Drejka is also accused of waving a gun at drivers during two road rage incidents in 2012.
Highway Patrol officers pulled Drejka over after both incidents and found a handgun in his car. But he told officers he never threatened anyone with the firearm.
Sheriff Gualtieri, who initially declined to charge Drejka, caved to intense pressure from the news media and agreed to leave the decision up to prosecutors.
State Attorney Bernie McCabe announced his decision to file charges against Drejka this week. “We have filed a formal charge, and he has been arrested, and he will now go through the court system,” McCabe said in a statement.
“Whether or not we use ‘stand your ground’ as a defense will be a surprise,” Drejka’s lawyer Lysa Clifton told the Tampa Bay Times.
She told Bay News 9 that a Pinellas County jury will take into account a variety of factors, such as “assuming somebody’s state of mind when they react to something, age difference, race is a big issue here. So there are gonna be a lot of factors that come into play here.”
During a hearing on Tuesday, a judge set bond for Drejka at $100,000. If he posts bond he must surrender all handguns and wear an ankle monitor.
Drejka faces 30 years in prison if convicted.