Father blames 'stand your ground' in son's parking-lot death

Associated Press

Michael McGlockton is convinced that two things killed his son in a Florida parking lot last month: The man who pulled the trigger and the state's polarizing "stand your ground" self-defense law.

Markeis McGlockton, 28, died a few yards from his children and girlfriend at a store in Clearwater after a confrontation over a parking spot that reignited the debate over the law.

The local sheriff said that under "stand your ground," Michael Drejka was justified in the killing.

In an interview with The Associated Press – his first one-on-one with a news outlet since the shooting – Michael McGlockton said if the law didn't exist, his son might have gone home the night of July 19, or Drejka might have been arrested. Instead, McGlockton said, he buried his firstborn while the killer walked free.

"No law should be able to protect somebody to the point that they kill somebody on the street and they can lay in the bed the same night," McGlockton said. "To me and my family, that's a slap in the face. [Drejka] would've thought twice before he pulled the trigger. With the law, he knew that he could hide behind that."

The law received international attention in 2012 when black teenager Trayvon Martin was killed by George Zimmerman. In the end, Zimmerman did not argue a "stand your ground" defense and was acquitted anyway. Critics say the law unfairly allows young black men to be victimized by gun violence.

The dispute with Drejka started when he yelled at McGlockton's girlfriend, Britany Jacobs – who was in a car with two of the couple's small children – outside a store for parking in a handicapped space. McGlockton, who was black and unarmed, pushed Drejka, a white man, to the ground. Drejka pulled out his handgun and killed him.

Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri has declined to press charges. State prosecutors are considering whether to charge Drejka, 47.

"I didn't make the law, and I do not do what people want because of outrage," Gualtieri said. "If you're outraged by the law and don't like the law, then change it."

The case drew hundreds to a rally last weekend in Clearwater.

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