Britany Jacobs, the girlfriend of the man shot and killed in a Florida parking lot last week, says her boyfriend was just coming to her defense and the gunman “wanted someone to be angry at.” Now she wants “justice,” she says.
Jacobs, who witnessed the shooting along with the couple’s 5-year-old son, said she and her two small children were waiting in the car for her boyfriend, Markeis McGlockton, while he ran into a convenience store in Clearwater, Florida. Onlooker Michael Drejka got out of his parked car and began “harassing” her about being parked in a handicap space, she said.
Surveillance video showed McGlockton exiting the store and shoving Drejka to the ground. Drejka then drew a handgun and shot and killed McGlockton.
“He wanted somebody to be angry at. He just wanted someone to fight him,” Jacobs said in an interview with “Good Morning America” on Monday. “He was picking a fight. I’m just sitting, waiting for my family to come back to the car.”
Drejka told deputies in Pinellas County he feared for his life, according to authorities, but McGlockton’s girlfriend.
Police said they won’t press charges against Drejka, who is white, for shooting McGlockton, who was black, citing the state’s so-called “stand your ground” law.
Jacobs, who was waiting in the vehicle with the couple’s two younger children — an infant and a 3-year-old — said she started feeling “scared” when she noticed how fast the argument was escalating. It wasn’t long before McGlockton came out along with their 5-year-old son and tried to diffuse the situation.
Surveillance video from the Circle A Food Store in Clearwater, about 30 minutes east of Tampa, showed McGlockton leaving the store and shoving Drejka hard to the ground.
“By this time a witness pulls up and everybody hears us going back and forth with one another. … A witness goes in the store and he let the owner know that there was somebody out there messing with a woman in a car,” she said. “My man hears what’s going on, sees the guy yelling at me and I’m sitting in the car. My man is defending me and his children, so he pushes him down.
“The guy is on the ground and he pulls the gun out. … My dude steps back ’cause my dude is fearing for his life — all of us were,” she added.
McGlockton was stepping back when Drejka pulled the trigger, she said, shooting him just a few feet away from her and their children. Neither she nor McGlockton knew that the man was armed.
McGlockton stumbled back inside of the store and fought for his life for nearly 30 minutes, according to Jacobs. He was pronounced dead at a local hospital.
“Everybody is panicking … my son is screaming, but it was too late,” she said. “It’s hard for a 4- or 5-year-old to witness what he saw. … It’s really tough for him.”
Bob Gualtieri, the Pinellas County sheriff, insisted he has to follow the “stand your ground” law, which dictates that if a person feels threatened they have the right to shoot.
“He told deputies that he had to shoot to defend himself. Those are the facts and that’s the law,” Gualtieri said at a press conference. “No matter how you slice it or dice it that was a violent push to the ground.”
Investigators said Drejka has a concealed weapons permit.
The owner of the convenience store in Clearwater told ABC affiliate WFTS that Drejka had assaulted customers in the store’s parking lot before. And Rich Kelly, who frequents the store, claimed Drejka picked a fight with him over a parking spot about a month ago, calling him racial slurs and threatening to kill him, WFTS reported.
A sign posted outside Drejka’s home Friday said “No Comment” in bold letters, according to WFTS. The State Attorney’s Office is currently investigating the matter further.
“He was a good man and all he was trying to do was protect his family,” Jacobs said. “I just want justice. I need something to be done because this is not right.”
ABC News’ Kieran Mcgirl contributed to this report.