ST. PETERSBURG, Florida. – The Florida man accused in the shooting death of an unarmed man in a store parking apologized to the family of the victim during a jailhouse interview, but said he would not change anything about what he did that day in July.
“I have a lot of time to think about, but what if something changes, events, is what you are asking, I do not see – no, not off the top of my head,” said Michael Drejka, of Clearwater, Florida.
During an interview with Tampa TV station WTSP, Michael Drejka says that he was afraid during the incident that left the 28-year-old Markeis McGlockton death. The recording quickly became controversial, partly because Drejka is white, and McGlockton was black, and because it revived debate over Florida’s “stand your ground” law. “I followed the law the way I felt, that the law had to be followed. I cleared every obstacle that that right had in front of me,” said Drejka, who added that he felt “justified” when Pinellas Sheriff Bob Gualtieri, initially, not to arrest.
Prosecutors on Aug. 13 charged Drejka with murder. He is still in jail, with bail set at $100,000. The Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office recorded of the TV channel to the call, and brought that to the media at the weekend.
Surveillance video from July 19 shows Drejka the initiation of a confrontation over a parking space. McGlockton’s girlfriend, Britany Jacobs, sitting in the couple’s car with two of their children, in the age of 3 years and 4 months, when she said Drejka facing her is parked in a disabled accessible space without a permit if other rooms were available. McGlockton had gone into the store with the couple’s 5-year-old son, also named Markeis.
McGlockton then came out and knocked Drejka on the sidewalk.
“It felt as if I was tackled or someone hit me from behind with something. I left my feet, slid along the ground, before I was able to – yes, I was shocked, yes,” Drejka said. “I didn’t know what was coming for me and there is only one way to look at it. You have to be afraid of it, ‘cuz if you’re not, you’re wrong, you’re wrong. And that is that.”
Video is then recorded what happened next: Drejka drew a pistol and shot if McGlockton back away.
In the interview, Drejka said the twist was not about race and said he is not racist. He said reports that he was previously confronted with a black septic tank worker and called him the “N-word” about parking in the same spot at the supermarket are false.
“I’ve worked with many people, met a lot of people in my life that kind of person,” said Drejka. “It doesn’t help everyone, you know, and, that kind of feeling about a whole race of people seems strange to me.”
Drejka said that the parking spaces for persons with disabilities “have always struck a nerve” because his high school girlfriend and his mother-in-law used the disabled parking spaces.
McGlockton’s family has been vocal in their displeasure about the way the case was handled, and the hired lawyer Benjamin Crump, who gained national notoriety that the family of Trayvon Martin, after black teenager’s fatal shooting by a Spanish man in 2012.