Florida gunman who killed man in parking dispute free to go, police say


Clearwater Police stationImage copyright
Getty Images

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The shooting happened outside a convenience store in the city of Clearwater, Florida

A man who shot and killed another man during an argument over a parking space will not be arrested or charged, police in the US state of Florida say.

Michael Drejka, 47, was shoved over by Markeis McGlockton on Thursday after he confronted his girlfriend who was parked in a space for the disabled.

Mr Drejka then shot Mr McGlockton once in the chest while still on the ground.

Police say they did not arrest Mr Drejka because of the state’s “stand your ground” or “shoot first” statute.

The law gives protection from criminal prosecution or civil liability to people who claim self-defence after a shooting or violent incident.

“I don’t make the law. I enforce the law,” Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri told a press conference on Friday.

“I’m going to enforce it the way it’s written. Others can have the debate about whether they like it or not.”

He said the case would be reviewed by the state attorney who will determine whether Mr Drejka should be charged.

But the attorney would have to provide “clear and convincing evidence that [he] was not entitled to use force”, the sheriff said.

Footage of the shooting was recorded on CCTV outside the convenience store and shows Mr McGlockton rushing back inside the building while clutching his chest.

Witnesses say he then collapsed before shoppers called 911. He was taken to hospital in the city of Clearwater and pronounced dead.

The police say Mr Drejka was co-operative when they arrived and had a valid concealed weapons licence.

The “stand your ground” law came under intense scrutiny following the fatal shooting of an unarmed teenager in 2012.

Image copyright
Reuters

Image caption

The shooting of Trayvon Martin (R) in 2012 by George Zimmerman provoked debate about Florida’s “stand your ground” law

George Zimmerman, a neighbourhood watchman, shot Trayvon Martin who was walking back from a shop in the city of Sanford.

Florida police cited the law after they released Mr Zimmerman without charge on the night of the shooting.

But more than 480,000 people signed a petition calling for him to be prosecuted. He eventually stood trial, but was found not guilty on all charges.



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