CLEARWATER, Fla. — Two months to the day after Markeis McGlockton was shot and killed, friends, family, and a community held a vigil to celebrate his life.
During those two months, McGlocktons family struggled to cope with the loss while speaking out about his murder.
Video: Candlelight vigil held for Markeis McGlockton, killed during Clearwater stand your ground shooting
"This is month two of realizing and kind of dealing with the fact that their son, their partner, their father is no longer here," said family attorney Michelle Rayner. "So its been really beautiful to see the community come together and theyre really thankful for that."
The tributes focused on all the things the family said McGlockton liked to do, and not on the man accused of shooting and killing him in what the Pinellas County Sheriff initially called a stand your ground case.
"On a night like tonight Id rather not deal with him," Rayner said, talking about accused shooter Michael Drejka. "I rather not talk about him. I rather not even uplift him. He has no place here tonight — really, this is about Markeis and we want to keep it about Markeis."
"In his mind, he was defending himself, but from the tapes, he was just pushed away from an argument and he could have walked away with a bruised ego and a bruised behind," said Petia Rodewald, speaking about Drejka. "Instead, he took a persons life."
CLEARWATER (FOX 13) – Wednesday marked the two month anniversary of Markeis McGlockton’s death after he was shot and killed by a man who claimed Florida’s controversial Stand Your Ground law.
His death sparked several protests, but the community gathered to celebrate his life Wednesday at Wright Park.
Warm amber light from candlelight broke through the darkness over cannot be filled remains in the hearts of McGlockton’s family, friends and even strangers.
“Obviously, you can imagine the pain of having to come. This is month two of realizing that and dealing with the fact that their son, their partner, their father is no longer here,” said Michele Rayner, the family’s attorney.
McGlockton, 27, was shot and killed by Michael Drejka, 48, over a handicap spot at a Clearwater store. Drejka said he fired in self-defense and the Pinellas sheriff's office didn't initially charge him, citing Florida’s controversial Stand Your Ground law.
“We don’t support the Stand Your Ground law. It is pretty much an oppressive law designed to oppress the black communities. Usually, the victims of that law are the black members of our community. We think that it’s very unjust,” said vigil attendee Petia Rodewald with Moms Demand Action.
“My son was just a little bit younger than Markeis and has patronized that store many times, so it could have been him,” said Marilyn Turman, who attended the vigil.
In the wake of protests, many left it all behind to remember the father of three, and while there was positive energy to bring the community together, those who advocate against gun violence say they want justice.
“In his mind, he was defending himself. But from the looks from the tapes, he was just pushed away from an argument and he would have walked away with a bruised ego. Instead, he took a person’s life,” said Rodewald.
The family’s attorney says McGlockton’s parents and his girlfriend were thankful for the vigil, but it’s a painful reminder that Markeis is no longer with them.