A 35-year-old black mother of four was fatally shot on Friday June 2, by her white neighbor after the two had been involved in a multi-year feud over children playing outside.
Ajike Owens was shot through the door of the neighbour’s home and later died of her injuries at a nearby hospital Friday night, Marion County Sheriff Billy Woods said in a press conference Monday, June 5.
The encounter between Owens and the shooter started after Owens’ children were playing in a field in the city of Ocala. The shooting death ended a more than 2-year quarrel between the two, the sheriff said.
Before gunfire erupted, Owens’ children were playing outside in the field near the shooter’s apartment, authorities said. The woman yelled at the kids and then threw a pair of skates at them, striking one of the children, Woods said.
Owens later approached the woman at her apartment after her 9-year-old alerted her, leading to the argument and then the shooting, investigators said.
The police refused to name the shooter, but neighbours have shared photos of the shooter online and revealed her name to be Susan Lorincz, an Insurance agent.
A family member of Owens said her son was next to her when she was killed.
The shooter has not been arrested because detectives, along with the State Attorney’s Office, believe the shooting was done in possible self-defense, which is legal in Florida, Woods said.
Owens and the shooter were involved in numerous fights since January 2021, Woods said, with deputies called at least a half dozen times connected to the clash.
“I wish our shooter would have called us instead of taking actions into her own hands,” Woods said. “I wish Ms. Owens would have called us in the hopes we could have never gotten to the point at which we are here today.
“There was a lot of aggressiveness from both of them, back and forth,” Wood said the shooter told investigators. “Whether it be banging on the doors, banging on the walls and threats being made. And then at that moment is when Ms. Owens was shot through the door.”
Woods noted Florida’s “stand your ground” law means he can’t arrest the woman unless he can prove the shooter didn’t act in self-defense.
While the shooter has been questioned by investigators, Owens’ children have not been interviewed yet by the sheriff’s office as child experts are expected to work with the grieving siblings.
Well-known civil rights lawyer Benjamin Crump, who is representing the Owens’ family, accused the shooter of directing racial slurs at the children before Owens came to her door in a statement. Owens and her kids are black.
The police has not confirmed there were slurs spoken or if race was a factor.
Owens’ mother, Pamela Dias said at a vigil for her daughter she wanted justice done for her family.
“My daughter, my grandchildren’s mother, was shot and killed with her 9-year-old son standing next to her,” Dias said. “She had no weapon. She posed no imminent threat to anyone.”