Florida man threatened people 3 different times before shooting man in ‘stand your ground’ case
CLEARWATER, Fl. — The man charged with manslaughter after shooting another man in a Clearwater, Florida, convenience store parking lot has a history of threatening drivers, according to documents from the Pinellas County Circuit Court.
Michael Drejka, 47, fatally shot Markeis McGlockton in July after McGlockton shoved him to the ground during a dispute over a handicapped-accessible spot. Drejka claimed he feared for his life and said he fired in self-defense. Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri previously said Florida’s “stand your ground” laws prevented him from arresting Drejka.
Drejka was ultimately charged and will make his first appearance in court Tuesday afternoon. CNN has tried contacting Drejka multiple times, but has not heard back and it was not clear whether he has an attorney.
Court documents show that the July incident wasn’t the first time Drejka aggressively confronted drivers over parking spots or what he perceived to be traffic infractions. In one incident, he caused a traffic accident by “brake checking” a car behind him, according to reports.
A truck driver parked in a handicapped-accessible spot
About three months ago, Richard Kelly told a Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office detective he was confronted by Drejka at Circle A Food Store, the same store where he shot McGlockton. Drejka, documents said, was upset because Kelly parked in a handicapped-accessible spot. The exchange between the two became very loud and Kelly said at some point during the argument Drejka told him he was going to shoot him, documents said.
Drejka then went to his car and was rummaging around the center console, but documents said Kelly drove away. Drejka, Kelly said, also threw racial slurs at him. Kelly is black and Drejka is white.
Court documents said Drejka wanted to voice his complaint to Kelly’s employer, AA Cut-Rate Septic Tank Service, so he spoke to the owner, John Tyler. Drejka told the business owner he was lucky he didn’t blow his employee’s head off, documents said.
A woman drove too slow through a school zone
On December 12, 2012, a woman told a Largo Police Department officer that a man driving a black Toyota truck, later identified as Drejka, pointed a gun at her and the passengers in the vehicle.
The woman pointed out the truck to the officer. The officer spoke with Drejka, documents said, and he told the officer the woman was driving too slow through a school zone.
Drejka denied pointing a gun at the occupants of the car, documents said, but he did have a gun in his vehicle. Drejka told the officer, according to police reports, that he honked at the people in the other car, and the people in that car made rude hand gestures at him.
A teen didn’t drive through a yellow light
On January 10, 2012, Tyler Smith, 18, was driving with a friend when a traffic light turned yellow. Smith decided not to drive through the light and stopped his vehicle.
A truck, driven by Drejka, was behind Smith. Drejka honked his horn, documents said, and yelled at Smith. Drejka held a black handgun out the driver’s side window of his vehicle and motioned for Smith to walk back to his truck, documents said. Drejka then followed the teen’s vehicle, passed it and slammed on his brakes, according to police reports.
The teen did not press charges, documents said.
When officers confronted Drejka about the incident, he said the teen’s car cut him off, the police report said. He said he neither followed the teen’s car nor did he show his gun, but did admit to having one in his vehicle.
The ‘brake-checking’ incident
Drejka was driving his truck down US Route 19 Alternate in Pinellas County on November 13, 2013, when a woman turned onto the route, pulling into the center lane so that Drejka could pass, according to a police report. She then pulled out behind Drejka.
Drejka would later tell a state trooper that he felt the woman, who had her 4- and 7-year-old children in the car, almost hit him when she pulled into the center lane, the police report said. He began hitting his brakes “in an aggressive manner,” closing the distance between him and the woman, the report said.
As she got closer, he again slammed his brakes aggressively and the woman rear-ended him, the report said. Drejka told police he was trying to turn into a store but missed the turn, the report said.
But he also acknowledged being upset with the woman, according to the report, and said he was “brake checking,” a term for when you hit the brakes because another driver is riding your tail.
“Based on my training and experience and the damage to both vehicles, (Drejka) did not attempt to turn prior to the crash,” the trooper wrote in the report, which said Drejka was cited for stopping or sudden decrease in speed without signaling.