A tragic incident occurred on Friday, June 2, when Ajike Owens, a Black mother of four, was fatally shot by her white neighbor, following a long-standing dispute over children playing outside. The shooting took place in Ocala, and Owens was shot through the door of the neighbor’s home. Despite being rushed to a nearby hospital, she succumbed to her injuries later that night. Marion County Sheriff Billy Woods provided these details during a press conference on Monday, June 5.
The conflict between Ajike Owens, aged 35, and the shooter had been ongoing for over two years, originating from the presence of Owens’ children playing in a field near the neighbor’s apartment. Prior to the shooting, the neighbor reportedly shouted at the children and threw a pair of skates at them, which struck one of the kids. Subsequently, Ajike Owens was alerted by her 9-year-old child and approached the neighbor’s apartment, leading to an argument that tragically ended with the fatal shooting, as per investigators.
While the police have chosen not to disclose the identity of the shooter, neighbors have shared images of the individual online and identified her as Susan Lorincz, an insurance agent.
According to a family member of Ajike Owens, her son was present next to her when she was tragically killed. Despite this, the shooter has not been arrested due to the belief by detectives and the State Attorney’s Office that the shooting may have been an act of self-defense, which is legally permissible in Florida, as mentioned by Sheriff Woods.
The conflict between Ajike Owens and the shooter had been ongoing since January 2021, with multiple incidents resulting in law enforcement intervention. Sheriff Woods expressed a wish that both parties had sought assistance from the authorities instead of resorting to their own actions. The confrontations between them involved aggressive behavior, such as banging on doors and walls, along with threats being made. The fatal shooting occurred when Owens was shot through the door.
Sheriff Woods explained that Florida’s “stand your ground” law prevents him from making an arrest unless it can be proven that the shooter did not act in self-defense. While the shooter has been questioned by investigators, Owens’ children have not yet been interviewed, as child experts are expected to assist in communicating with the grieving siblings.
Civil rights lawyer Benjamin Crump, who is representing Owens’ family, alleged that the shooter directed racial slurs at the children prior to Owens approaching her door. However, the police have not confirmed whether slurs were spoken or if race played a role in the incident.
During a vigil held in memory of her daughter, Ajike Owens’ mother, Pamela Dias, expressed her desire for justice to be served for her family. She emphasized that Owens, who was unarmed, posed no imminent threat to anyone at the time of the shooting, with her 9-year-old son standing beside her.
“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.”