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Neighbor Arrested for Fatally Shooting Florida Mom Over Longstanding Feud Involving Kids Playing Outside
“This is an important step in a necessary journey to justice” for Ajike Owens, civil rights lawyer Ben Crump said.
A Black Florida mother of four was shot dead through a closed door by her white neighbor following a years-long feud related to the victim’s children playing outside, according to police.
Susan Lorincz, 58, was arrested in last week’s fatal shooting of Ajike “AJ” Owens, 35, in the city of Ocala, the Marion County Sheriff’s Office said on Wednesday.
On June 2, authorities say Owens attempted to confront Lorincz at her home for allegedly yelling at her children while they were playing in a lot close to their homes. Marion County Sheriff Billy Woods told reporters that Lorincz had also hurled a pair of skates that struck one of Owens’ children.
Lorincz was charged with first-degree manslaughter, as well as culpable negligence, battery and two counts of assault related to the deadly shooting. She faces up to 30 years in prison if convicted.
“Ms. Lorincz’s fate is now in the hands of the judicial system, which I trust will deliver justice in due course,” Woods said in a video that was uploaded to Facebook on Wednesday.
The shooting triggered protests calling for Lorincz’s arrest prior to her being taken into custody, Gainesville television station WCJB-TV reported. Law enforcement were initially undecided on whether to charge Lorincz, as they were unable to immediately assess if she’d acted in self-defense according to Florida’s controversial stand your ground laws.
“As I go to bed tonight, I will be saying a prayer for Ms. Owens’ children and the rest of her family," Sheriff Woods said. "I’d ask all of you to do the same.”
Civil rights lawyer Ben Crump is now representing Owens’ family. He has said that Owens' kids were playing in a field near an apartment complex when Lorincz “began yelling at them to get off her land and calling them racial slurs," according to NBC News.
Crump applauded Lorincz’s arrest. “This is an important step in a NECESSARY journey to justice for AJ,” he wrote on Twitter Wednesday.
Owens and Lorincz’s dispute traces back to January 2021, according to Sheriff Woods. Since then, deputies were dispatched at least six times related to their simmering conflict.
“There was a lot of aggressiveness from both of them, back and forth,” Woods stated, referring to Lorincz’s own police statement. “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.”
One neighbor who witnessed the aftermath of Owens’ fatal shooting said they saw one of the Florida mother’s sons screaming, “They shot my mama, they shot my mama.”
Lauren Smith, 40, who lives across the street, told the Associated Press she initiated emergency life-saving measures on Owens until paramedics arrived. She also said that Lorincz had a long-held beef with Owens related to her children playing in the neighborhood.
“She was angry all the time that the children were playing out there,” Smith told the outlet. “She would say nasty things to them. Just nasty.”