White woman accused of fatally shooting Black neighbor is arrested in Florida

This Jan. 14, 2023, photo released by Anthony D. Thomas, attorney for the family of Ajike Owens, shows Owens, a 35-year-old mother of four from Ocala, Fla. The Marion County sheriff said Owens was shot and killed Friday, June 2, 2023, moments after going to the apartment of her neighbor, who had yelled at Owens' children as they played in a nearby lot. (Anthony D. Thomas via AP)

(Uncredited / Associated Press)

White woman accused of fatally shooting Black neighbor is arrested in Florida

June 7, 2023

A white Florida woman accused of fatally shooting her Black neighbor last week in the violent culmination of what authorities described as a 2-year feud was arrested Tuesday, the Marion County Sheriffs Office said.

Susan Louise Lorincz, 58, was arrested on suspicion of manslaughter with a firearm, culpable negligence, battery and two counts of assault in the death of her neighbor Ajike Owens, 35, Sheriff Billy Woods said in a statement.

Owens, a mother of four, was shot Friday night, Woods said. Owens and Lorincz lived in the rolling hills south of Ocala, a city in northern Florida that is the heart of the state’s horse country.

Authorities came under pressure Tuesday to arrest and charge Lorincz, who allegedly fired at Owens through her front door in a case that has put Floridas divisive stand-your-ground law back into the spotlight.

Woods said that this was not a stand-your-ground case but simply a killing.

When interviewed, Lorincz said that she had acted in self-defense and that Owens had been trying to break down her door, a statement from the sheriff’s office said. Lorincz also alleged that Owens had previously attacked her.

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Through their investigation, which included statements from eyewitnesses, detectives were able to establish that Lorinczs actions were not justifiable under Florida law, the statement said.

About three dozen protesters gathered outside the Marion County Judicial Center to demand that Lorincz be arrested, in the countrys latest flashpoint over race and gun violence. Florida’s chief prosecutor, State Atty. William Gladson, met with the protesters and urged patience while the investigation continues.

If we are going to make a case, we need as much time and as much evidence as possible, Gladson said. I dont want to compromise any criminal investigation.

Woods had said Monday that detectives were working with the State Attorneys Office and had to investigate self-defense claims before they could move forward with any possible criminal charges. The sheriff noted that, because of Florida’s stand-your-ground law, he was not able legally to make an arrest without proving that the shooter did not act in self-defense.

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On Tuesday, a teddy bear and bouquets marked the area near where Owens was shot. Nearby, children were riding bikes and scooters and playing basketball. Protesters chanted: No justice, no peace and A.J., A.J., A.J Owens nickname. They carried signs that said: Say her name Ajike Owens and Its about us.

Outside, the Rev. Bernard Tuggerson said the Black community in Ocala has suffered injustices for years. Marion County is suffering and needs to be healed completely, he said. If we dont turn from our wicked ways of the world, its going to be an ongoing problem. We want answers.

The sheriff said Owens was shot moments after going to Lorincz’s apartment. Lorincz had yelled at Owens’ children as they played in a nearby lot, Woods said, adding that Lorincz had also thrown a pair of skates that hit one of the children.

Deputies responding to a trespassing call at the apartment Friday night found Owens suffering from gunshot wounds. She later died at a hospital.

Before the confrontation, Lorincz had been yelling racial slurs at the children, according to a statement from civil rights attorney Ben Crump, who is representing Owens family. He also represented Trayvon Martin’s family in 2012, when the Black teenager was killed in a case that drew worldwide attention to Florida’s stand-your-ground law.

The sheriffs office hasnt confirmed whether slurs were uttered or whether race was a factor in the shooting.

Lauren Smith, 40, who lives across the street from where the shooting happened, was on her porch Friday and saw one of Owens’ young sons pacing and shouting: They shot my mama! They shot my mama!

She ran toward the house and began chest compressions on Owens until a rescue crew arrived. She said that there hadn’t been an argument and that Owens didn’t have a weapon.

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She was angry all the time that the children were playing out there, Smith said of Lorincz. She would say nasty things to them. Just nasty.

Smith, who is white, described the neighborhood as family-friendly.

Woods said that, since January 2021, deputies responded to at least a half-dozen calls in connection with what police described as feuding between Owens and Lorincz.

Lorincz told investigators that there was a lot of aggressiveness from both of them, back and forth, whether it be banging on the doors, banging on the walls and threats being made, Woods said.

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At a vigil Monday, Owens mother, Pamela Dias, said she was seeking justice for her daughter and her grandchildren.

My daughter, my grandchildrens 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.