Ajike Owens: What We Know So Far About The Unarmed Black Florida Mom Fatally Shot By Her White Neighbor

Protesters demanded justice for the single mother of four before authorities finally arrested the suspect days after the shooting.

A White woman who fatally shot her unarmed Black neighbor was arrested Tuesday (June 6) and charged with manslaughter and other offenses, days after protesters demanded justice for the mother of four children.

The Marion County Sheriff’s Office in Ocala, Fla. said the shooter, Susan Louise Lorincz, 58, and the victim, 35-year-old Ajike “A.J.” Owens, had a longstanding feud that culminated in the shooting.

According to the sheriff’s office, deputies responded to separate calls about a trespass incident and a shooting at the same location on June 2 at approximately 9 p.m. When they arrived, the officers found Owens with a gunshot wound in front of Lorincz’s apartment. The deputies and county fire rescue workers aided Owens who later succumbed to her injuries at HCA Florida Ocala Hospital.

Shot through a door standing with her son

Detectives started interviews immediately after the shooting, including questioning Owens’ children, Lorincz, and witnesses, the sheriff’s office said. They also gathered and reviewed forensic evidence, surveillance footage and digital evidence to piece together exactly what happened.

Investigators said Lorincz had argued with two of Owens’ children who were playing on June 2 in a field close to her home, which a neighbor overheard. Lorincz threw a roller skate at Owens’ 10-year-old son that struck his toe. That child and his 12-year-old brother went to speak with Lorincz, but she swung an umbrella at them.

The children then went home and told Owens what happened, the sheriff’s office said. Owens walked over to Lorincz’s home, knocked on the door multiple times, and demanded that she come outside. That’s when Lorincz fired a single shot through the door. The bullet struck Owens, who was standing outside with her 10-year-old son, in the upper chest.


Lorincz told investigators that she shot Owens in self-defense, claiming that Owens was trying to break down her door and had previously attacked her, the sheriff’s office said. But based on the evidence, the authorities concluded that the shooting was not justified under Florida law, which includes the state’s controversial “stand your ground” law.

She was charged with manslaughter with a firearm, a first-degree felony punishable by 30 years imprisonment, as well as culpable negligence, battery, and two counts of assault.

Response to the arrest

Civil rights attorney Ben Crump, co-counsel with attorney Anthony D. Thomas, represents Owens’ family. They were “relieved” that Lorincz was arrested but were “concerned that accountability has taken this long,” blaming the delay on “archaic laws” like stand your ground, the legal team said in a statement.

“What does it say when a person can shoot and kill an unarmed mother in the presence of her young children, and not be immediately taken into custody, questioned, and charged?” the statement reads.

Demands for justice

CBS News reports that more than 30 mostly protesters rallied Tuesday (June 5) outside the Marion County Judicial Center to demand Lorincz’s arrest. State Attorney William Gladson met with them and asked for their patients.

According to Crump, there’s a racist element involved in the shooting. He said Lorincz used racial slurs toward Owens’ children before the confrontation.

"She was angry all the time that the children were playing out there. She would say nasty things to them. Just nasty," witness Lauren Smith, a White neighbor, said, according to CBS News.

At a vigil on Monday (June 5), Owens’ mother, Pamela Dias, pleaded for justice.

"My daughter, my grandchildren's mother, was shot and killed with her ... son standing next to her. She had no weapon. She posed no imminent threat to anyone," CBS News quoted Dias.

This case follows a similar high-profile case in Missouri involving unarmed Black teen Ralph Yarl who survived a shot to the head from Andrew Lester, an 84-year-old White man, when Ralph mistakenly rang Lester’s doorbell on April 13.

Protesters demand justice for Yarl when authorities failed to immediately arrest Lester, who was ultimately charged April 17 with first-degree assault and armed criminal action by the Clay County, Mo., prosecutor.

Ralph Yarl: What We Know So Far About The Shooting Of Unarmed Missouri Black Teen

Stand your ground law

Marion County Sheriff Billy Woods said he couldn’t make an immediate arrest because of Florida’s stand your ground law, which requires law enforcement to prove that a suspected shooter didn’t act in self-defense.

About 30 states, including Florida and Missouri, have stand your ground and “castle doctrine” statutes that permits people to use deadly force if they perceive that someone is threatening their life, according to The Associated Press. The controversial law came under national scrutiny and protest in the 2012 fatal shooting of unarmed Black teen Trayvon Martin by George Zimmerman in Sanford, Fla.

Angela Ferrell-Zabala, executive director of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, told the AP that the “shot first laws” are considered justifiable five times more frequently when a White shooter kills a Black victim.

Single mom with a ‘smile that lights up a room’

A.J., as she was affectionately known by her friends and family, had a “smile that would light up the room” and was a person who “graciously affected all she came into contact with her infectious personality,” a GoFundMe campaign reads.

According to the page, Owens was a single mother whose life centered on her four children. A “devoted Christian,” Owens was the team mom for her childrens’ football and cheerleading teams while working as a manager in the restaurant/hospitality industry.

Latest News

Subscribe for BET Updates

Provide your email address to receive our newsletter.

By clicking Subscribe, you confirm that you have read and agree to our Terms of Use and acknowledge our Privacy Policy. You also agree to receive marketing communications, updates, special offers (including partner offers) and other information from BET and the Paramount family of companies. You understand that you can unsubscribe at any time.