The Florida man charged in a deadly parking lot shooting, now at the center of a "stand your ground" case, is telling his side of the story.
In a video released by the Pinellas County sheriff, Michael Drejka explained from prison why he opened fire on Markeis McGlockton.
“It felt like I was tackled or someone hit me from behind,” Drejka said. “I didn’t know what was coming for me.”
Surveillance video from the July confrontation shows Drejka, who is white, shooting McGlockton, who is black, after McGlockton came outside a Clearwater convenience store and shoved Drejka to the ground when he heard the man yelling at his girlfriend, who was parked in a handicap space.
Drejka then pulled out a gun and shot McGlockton in the chest. McGlockton ran back into the store and later died from his injuries.
“My mother-in-law was handicapped, so it’s always been a hotbed for me. I’ve always said my whole life is looking for a handicap spot,” Drejka said.
Drejka said he wasn’t looking for a fight, but rather he feared for his life.
McGlockton’s young child and girlfriend witnessed the incident.
“That was my high school sweetheart and it hurts so bad,” McGlockton’s girlfriend Britany Jacobs said just days after the shooting in July. “It shouldn’t have to happen for a man to pass away in front of his child.”
Police did not initially arrest Drejka, saying he was protected by Florida’s “stand your ground” law.
"He had to shoot to defend himself. Those are the facts and that is the law," Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri said at the time. "No matter how you slice it or dice it, that was a violent push to the ground."
Then, in August, prosecutors charged Dreijka with manslaughter.
Drejka said he is concerned about his wife, who is receiving death threats while he is being held in jail on $100,000 bond.
In 2013, the controversial law became the subject of national debate when George Zimmerman shot and killed Trayvon Martin, an unarmed black teenager, in Sanford. Zimmerman was later tried and acquitted.
Drejka is a legal concealed weapons permit holder, according to the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office.
The store owner told Tampa's ABC affiliate in July that Drejka has a history of confronting people in the parking lot where the shooting took place.
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