One year since Markeis McGlockton's shooting death, pain still fresh for Clearwater community

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Exactly one year ago, Markeis McGlockton was shot and killed in a Clearwater parking lot after an argument over a handicapped parking space.

Family and friends came together Friday night at Mt. Zion United Methodist Church to remember the 28-year-old and celebrate the life he lived.

It’s an anniversary that doesn’t bring joy. For Markeis’ loved ones, 365-days later the pain is still fresh.

“I’ve cried every day for the past year, I think about Markeis day and night, all I have is memories,” said his mother, Monica Moore Robinson.

About 130 family members, friends, and strangers came together to honor Markeis’ life.

“He was loving, and he had so much to give, and so much to offer this world, and it’s sad that he was robbed of it, and we were robbed of our time with him,” one friend told the crowd.

On July 19, 2018, Michael Drejka shot and killed Markeis after the 28-year-old shoved Drejka to the ground for arguing with his girlfriend about parking in a handicap space.

Drejka told investigators he pulled the trigger in self-defense, and the Pinellas County Sheriff didn’t put Drejka behind bars because of Florida’s stand your ground law.  The case was turned over to the State Attorney's Office, and Drejka was charged with manslaughter.

“We all know how he died, but I think there has not been a lot of emphasis on how he lived,” said Attorney Michele Raynor-Goolsby. “He was an artist, he was a family man, he was a son, he was a partner, he was a father.”

Markeis’ artwork was on display at the event, and a local artist painted his portrait as people spoke and performed.

Markeis’ four young kids are now growing up without a father.

“They still really don’t understand what happened, but as they grow up they will find out,” Michael McGlockton, Markeis’ father said.

Instead of focusing on the loss, loved ones have turned the pain into a battle cry.

“Even though it’s a year later, people are still standing with them, and still want to see justice for Markeis,” said Ashley Green with Dream Defenders.

And they took that message to the street. As the sun went down, the group marched, holding signs and candles all in Markeis’ name.

Drejka’s lawyers are not using stand your ground as a defense in this case. Instead, they are expected to argue he shot Markeis out of self-defense.

That trial is set to start next month.