Florida Mom AJ Owens Fatally Shot by Neighbor ~ The Senseless Murder of Ajike “AJ” Owens and the Slow Trigger of Justice
On June 4, 2023, Ajike “AJ” Owens, a 35-year-old single mother of four, was fatally shot through a neighbor’s door in Ocala, Florida. Owens and her neighbor, 58-year-old Susan Louise Lorincz, had been involved in a 2½-year dispute that had escalated over time.
My office is bombarded with stories of senseless killings, unlawful arrests, discrimination in school systems, and more. No killing of an innocent person can be categorized as anything less than senseless. However, when a person shoots an unarmed female through a closed door, the encroachment upon that person and their family’s personal sanctity is inexorably egregious. I am sharing this particular story because there has been a recent increase in the number of senseless killings of Blacks by White homeowners, often shooting through closed doors.
While I support gun ownership and the right to defend oneself, home, and property, a clear threat must be imminent. Simply being afraid is not cause for someone to take the life of another person. And in this case, the shooter initiated the escalation.
Another reason I am sharing this is that the killing of Black women doesn’t always get the same exposure as the killing of Black men. We need to be just as vocal about these types of killings of Black women as we were about Amaud Arbery, Mike Brown, and George Floyd. At The Odyssey Project, we will continue to sound the clarion on egregious acts like this.
Dispute with Neighbor
According to Marion County Sheriff Billy Woods, Lorincz was upset because Owens’ children played in a field close to her home. Deputies had responded to over half a dozen calls since January 2021 concerning the ongoing “neighborhood feud.”
On the day of the shooting, Owens’ children were playing in the field, and Lorincz allegedly threw a roller skate at Owens’ 10-year-old son, hitting him in the toe. Lorincz also reportedly swung an umbrella at the boy and his older brother.
Owens approached Lorincz’s home and knocked on the door, demanding that Lorincz come outside. Lorincz then fired one shot through the door, striking Owens in her upper chest. At the time, Owens’ 10-year-old son was standing beside her.
Arrest and Charges
Lorincz was arrested on June 6, 2023, on charges of manslaughter with a firearm, culpable negligence, battery, and two counts of assault. Police had held off on the arrest while they determined what role the state’s “stand your ground” laws might have played in the shooting.
Ajike Owens’ family was relieved to hear of the arrest. Attorney Ben Crump, who is representing Owens’ family, said, “Today we get to share with her children and tried to make sure they understand that this senseless act of violence that killed their mother before their eyes were not their fault.”
Owens’ mother, Pamala Dias, spoke out after her daughter’s death, saying, “She had no weapon; she posed no imminent threat to anyone.”
A Devoted Mother and Friend
Before her death, Owens worked as a manager in the hospitality industry and helped out as a “Team Mom” for her children’s football and cheerleading teams. She was known for her infectious personality; her smile could light up any room.
According to Dias, Owens loved her children unconditionally and went out of her way to help other single mothers in similar situations. Dias organized a GoFundMe to help cover funeral costs and support Owens’ four children.
Dias also organized a GoFundMe to help cover funeral costs and support Owens’ four children. In the GoFundMe, Dias commemorated her daughter as someone with an infectious personality and a “smile that would light up the room.”
Eulogy by Rev. Al Sharpton
Owens’ funeral will be held on Monday, and Rev. Al Sharpton will give the eulogy.