Prosecutors on Monday decided to charge 48-year-old Michael Drejka with manslaughter in the fatal shooting of Markeis McGlockton, a major development in a case that has drawn national scrutiny over Florida's stand your ground law.
A complaint filed with the arrest warrant provides key new details about the investigation so far.
The case is likely to hinge on whether Drejka had reasonable fear for his life when he shot McGlockton, who had shoved him to the ground upon seeing Drejka yell at his girlfriend.
The first filing offers a window into why prosecutors believe Drejka did not have reason to pull the trigger, noting his "confrontational" approach and the distance between him and McGlockton, who began to turn away after Drejka pulled out his gun.
THE INITIAL CONFLICT
Before he shot McGlockton, a 28-year-old father of three, Drejka approached McGlockton's girlfriend, who had parked in a handicap-reserved spot outside the Circle A Food Store at 1201 Sunset Point Road in Clearwater.
Britany Jacobs had two children in the backseat and the windows rolled up when she noticed Drejka, wearing a baseball hat and sunglasses, walking around her vehicle. Jacobs "thought his behavior was unusual" and "became concerned for the safety of her children," a detective wrote in a report attached to the warrant.
Drejka "began to yell and motion with his hands," the detective wrote, and Jacobs cracked her window.
"Michael Drejka began to rant about her parking in a handicap spot," according to the report. "Britany Jacobs told him to mind his business and stated that her boyfriend went into the store to get some food and drinks."
Another man witnessed the interaction. The detective said that man described how Drejka "was very vocal and talking with his hands." The report says Drejka "appeared to be irate" and that Jacobs was yelling back at him. The other man said Drejka "appeared confrontational," according to the detective's writing.
The man, 36, walked in the store and told McGlockton he might want to go outside.
McGlockton did not finish checking out, the detective wrote. He walked to the car and shoved Drejka to the ground.
Drejka then pulled out a gun, which he later told the detective he kept in a holster on his right side.
Investigators reviewed surveillance video of what happened next.
"Michael Drejka steadies the firearm with both hands," the detective wrote. "Markeis McGlockton immediately backs up when confronted with the firearm. As he backs up to his vehicle he begins to turn towards the front of the store and away from the shooter."
Then Drejka fired one shot.
McGlockton ran into the store and collapsed in front of his 5-year-old son, who shared his name, according to the detective's report. Jacobs ran inside and saw him dying. Authorities arrived, and soon investigators took Drejka in for questioning.
He "stated he was in fear" and "indicated he was tackled by Markeis McGlockton." He said the two men did not exchange words and he did not see McGlockton's hands or face. Drejka said he thought he saw McGlockton twitch before he fired. His gun, he said, was a .40-caliber Glock.
Drejka said the shooting was an act of self-defense. In a room approximately 10 feet wide, the detective wrote, he asked Drejka to re-enact the incident, with the detective standing in for McGlockton.
Drejka laid on the ground, pointing his arm out like he was holding a gun, according to the report.
Then he directed the detective to back up, all the way to the wall, until he could not back up any further, at least 10 feet away.
As investigators continued looking into the case, they heard from another man, Richard Kelly, who said Drejka had threatened to shoot him in the same parking lot over the same handicap-reserved spot months before. They also learned of two police reports, which did not lead to any arrests but involved people accusing Drejka of showing a gun in road rage incidents.
Investigators used a 3D scanner to analyze the scene, according to the detective. The machine estimated Drejka was between 10 and 15 feet, probably 12 feet away from McGlockton when he pulled the trigger.
The detective signed his report on Aug. 10. On Aug. 13, prosecutors filed the arrest warrant. Deputies took Drejka into custody before noon.