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Michael Drejka attacked in prison, isolated from other inmates, officials say

He was sentenced to 20 years in prison for the 2018 shooting death of Markeis McGlockton in a Clearwater parking lot.

Clearwater parking lot shooter Michael Drejka was attacked in prison on Tuesday and has been confined away from other inmates.

A fellow inmate at Lancaster Correctional Institution attacked Drejka from behind using a sock with a metal object placed inside, said defense attorney John Trevena, citing information from Drejka’s wife. The 49-year-old Drejka sustained a head injury and received five stitches, Trevena said.

The Florida Department of Corrections issued a less detailed account of events Wednesday, saying Drejka “was involved in an isolated incident with another inmate” that took place at about 12:30 p.m. Tuesday and that “the situation was brought under control by institution security staff.”

He was separated from the other prisoners and prison officials are reviewing whether to place him in protective custody.

Related: The Clearwater parking lot shooting: Everything you need to know about the case
Michael Drejka was taken into custody after he was sentenced to 20 years in prison in October. Drejka was found guilty of manslaughter in the 2018 shooting death of Markeis McGlockton in a Clearwater parking lot.
Michael Drejka was taken into custody after he was sentenced to 20 years in prison in October. Drejka was found guilty of manslaughter in the 2018 shooting death of Markeis McGlockton in a Clearwater parking lot. [ JOHN PENDYGRAFT | Times ]

Corrections officials did not disclose any details of the attack or identify the other inmate involved. The agency’s statement said correctional officers were “diligent in their efforts to search inmates and common areas to eradicate weapons and unauthorized property.”

The department also did not release any information about the extent of Drejka’s injuries, saying that his medical information is protected by state and federal law.

Trevena called the statement and its lack of details, “laughable." The Department of Corrections, he said, “is incredibly inept at protecting inmates.

“There are frequent attacks and beatings resulting in inmate injury and sometimes death,” he said. “Sometimes the correctional officers are complicit in these attacks.”

Lancaster, where Drejka is being held, is about 35 miles west of Gainesville. In August, a jury found him guilty of manslaughter in the shooting death of Markeis McGlockton, a 28-year-old father of four. Drejka was sentenced in October to 20 years in prison.

The July 19, 2018, shooting at a convenience store near Clearwater sparked a widespread debate over self-defense and race.

Pinellas Sheriff Bob Gualtieri initially declined to arrest Drejka, who is white, because the sheriff said Drejka’s actions were protected by Florida’s controversial stand-your-ground law. McGlockton was black and unarmed, and his death stoked racial tensions reminiscent of the 2012 shooting of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin by a neighborhood watch volunteer.

About three weeks after the shooting, the Pinellas-Pasco State Attorney’s Office charged Drejka with manslaughter. He went to trial in August 2019. A six-person jury found him guilty.

Related: Michael Drejka sentenced to 20 years in parking lot shooting

Editor’s note: In an earlier version of this story, Drejka’s attorneys said he was being held in protective custody. State officials say they have not yet made that decision.

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