The Marion County Sheriff’s Office announced on Tuesday that Susan Louise Lorincz, a 58-year-old woman from Florida, has been arrested following the fatal shooting of her neighbor, Ajike Owens. The incident occurred last week as the violent culmination of a 2½-year feud, according to Sheriff Billy Woods. Lorincz, who is white, now faces charges of manslaughter with a firearm, culpable negligence, battery, and two counts of assault.
The case has gained significant attention and pressure for swift action, particularly due to the racial dynamics involved. Owens, a Black mother of four, was killed when Lorincz fired shots through her front door. The incident has reignited the debate surrounding Florida’s stand-your-ground law, which allows the use of deadly force in self-defense.
Sheriff Woods clarified in a Facebook video that this case did not fall under stand your ground, but rather described it as “simply a killing.” He acknowledged the public’s demand for immediate arrest but emphasized that he would adhere to the state’s laws, even if he disagreed with them.
Video footage shared by the sheriff’s office showed Lorincz being escorted by detectives and a deputy, with her hands restrained behind her back. She was booked into jail, although no lawyer was listed to represent her at the time. The date of her first court appearance remained unclear, told AP News.
During the investigation, Lorincz claimed self-defense, alleging that Owens had attempted to break down her door before she discharged her firearm. Lorincz also alleged prior instances of Owens targeting and attacking her. However, after gathering witness statements and conducting a thorough investigation, detectives concluded that Lorincz’s actions were not justifiable under Florida law.
Earlier on Tuesday, around 30 protesters, predominantly Black, gathered outside the Marion County Judicial Center, demanding the arrest of the shooter. State Attorney William Gladson, meeting with the demonstrators, urged patience while the investigation continued, emphasizing the importance of collecting sufficient evidence for a compelling case.
The shooting took place on Friday night, resulting in the death of Owens, 35. Both women resided in the scenic hills south of Ocala, a city known for its equestrian activities. Sheriff Woods had previously stated that they needed to investigate any claims of self-defense before considering potential charges, highlighting the legal limitations imposed by the stand-your-ground law.
At the site where Owens was shot, teddy bears and floral tributes were placed as a memorial. Children were seen playing nearby, riding bikes, and engaging in basketball matches. Protesters voiced their concerns, chanting slogans like “No justice, no peace” and using Owens’ nickname, “A.J.” Signs were displayed, demanding justice for Ajike Owens and emphasizing community unity.
Outside the gathering, Reverend Bernard Tuggerson expressed the enduring injustices faced by the Black community in Ocala and called for healing and change. He emphasized the need to address ongoing problems and find answers to prevent future incidents.
According to Sheriff Woods, Owens was shot shortly after visiting Lorincz’s apartment. The conflict escalated after Lorincz yelled at Owens’ children while they were playing in a nearby lot. The sheriff also revealed that Lorincz had thrown a pair of skates that struck one of the children. Deputies, responding to a trespassing call, discovered Owens with gunshot wounds at the scene, and she subsequently passed away at a hospital.