A white woman accused of shooting and killing a black mother-of-four over a dispute involving the slain Florida woman’s children has been arrested.
Susan Louise Lorincz, 58, was charged Tuesday with manslaughter with a firearm, culpable negligence, battery, and two counts of assault, Marion County Sheriff’s Office said in a statement released in the early hours of Wednesday morning.
‘The justice we have all been seeking has been served,’ Sheriff Billy Woods said in a video posted Tuesday. It follows public pressure on police to take action over the killing after authorities first said they had to take time to determine what role the Florida’s ‘stand your ground’ law might play in the incident.
Lorincz, who is white, is accused of fatally shooting Ajike ‘AJ’ Owens through a closed door in Ocala on Friday night.
It’s alleged that Lorincz threw a roller skate at one of Ms Owens’ children and swung an umbrella at another during a heated exchange before they went to tell their mother.
Ms Owens reportedly then marched across the street to speak with the neighbor after hearing of the incident, at which point Lorincz is accused of firing through her door, shooting the mother-of-four. Ms Owens later died at hospital from her injuries.
In a video posted by the sheriff’s office, 58-year-old Lorincz can be seen hanging her head down as she was walked into custody by authorities.
Susan Louise Lorincz, 58, was charged with manslaughter with a firearm, culpable negligence, battery and two counts of assault, Marion County Sheriff’s Office said in a statement released in the early hours of Wednesday morning
Lorincz is accused of fatally shooting Ajike ‘AJ’ Owens , who is black, through a closed door in Ocala on Friday night
Ms Owens children had been playing in a field near an apartment complex in Ocala, Florida, on Friday when Lorincz ‘began yelling at them to get off her land and calling them racial slurs,’ renowned civil rights attorney Ben Crump said.
The children then accidentally left an iPad behind after leaving the field – although police said it was a pair of skates – before going back to fetch it, Crump expplained.
According to police Lorincz ‘engaged in an argument with the children’ that was overheard by a neighbor.
‘During this argument, Lorincz threw a roller skate at Ms Owens’ 10-year-old son, striking the child in the toe,’ the statement said.
‘After this, when the child and his 12-year-old brother went to speak to Lorincz, she opened her door and swung at them with an umbrella.’
Marching up to Lorincz home, its alleged that Ms Owens approached her door and ‘knocked multiple times, and demanded that Lorincz come outside.’
Police say that this is when Lorincz ‘fired one shot through the door, striking Ms Owens in her upper chest.’ She later died at hospital from her injuries.
‘At the time she was shot, Ms Owens’ 10-year-old son was standing beside her.’
Marching up to Lorincz home, its alleged that Owens approached her door and ‘knocked multiple times, and demanded that Lorincz come outside’
Police said that through their investigation and eyewitness testimony they were able to establish that ‘Lorincz’s actions were not justifiable under Florida law’
When interviewed, Lorincz told police that ‘she’d acted in self-defense and that Owens had been trying to break down her door prior to her discharging her firearm.’
‘Lorincz also claimed that Owens had come after her in the past and had previously attacked her.’
Police said that through their investigation and eyewitness testimony they were able to establish that ‘Lorincz’s actions were not justifiable under Florida law.’
Under Florida’s ‘stand your ground’ law, people are essentially permitted to use deadly force if they feel their lives are in danger.
‘Any time that we think or perceive or believe that [the ‘stand your ground’ law] might come into play, we cannot make an arrest. The law specifically says that,’ Sheriff Billy Woods said at a press conference on Monday.
‘And what we have to rule out is whether this deadly force was justified or not before we can even make the arrest.’
Woods acknowledged that Owen’s children were engaged in a dispute with the neighbor prior to the shooting regarding them being on her lawn. He said officers have responded half-a-dozen times to complaints about the ongoing feud since January 2021.
The children of Ajike ‘AJ’ Owens hold back the tears during a press conference held at the New St. John Missionary Baptist Church, Ocala, Florida, Monday
Lawrence Collins (left) brother to Ajike ‘AJ’ Owens, holds hands with Charise Thomas (right), a friend, during a press conference held at the New St. John Missionary Baptist Church, Ocala, Florida, Monday
Crump, who is representing Ms Owens’ family, said in a statement that the shooter had been yelling racial slurs at the children before the confrontation with their mother. Ms Owens and her children are black.
The sheriff’s office hasn’t confirmed there were slurs uttered or said whether race was a factor in the shooting.
Crump tweeted a picture of Ms Owens on Monday. ‘This is Ajike ‘AJ’ Owens – a mother of four fatally shot after she reportedly knocked on the door of a white woman’s residence to retrieve her child’s iPad.
‘It’s believed that Owens’ children accidentally left the device behind in a field they were playing in, and the woman took it.’
‘It is asinine when they try to justify this unjustifiable killing of this mother of four who was killed in front of her children. It is heartbreaking on every level,’ he told CNN prior to the arrest.
Woods was joined at his news conference by community leaders and a local attorney retained by the family, Anthony Thomas.
Crump tweeted a picture of Owens on Monday. ‘This is Ajike ‘AJ’ Owens – a mother of four fatally shot after she reportedly knocked on the door of a white woman’s residence to retrieve her child’s iPad
‘It is asinine when they try to justify this unjustifiable killing of this mother of four,’ Crump told CNN on Monday prior to the arrest
During a vigil with the family later Monday, Thomas said the sheriff had promised him the most professional service that he and his deputies could provide, and Thomas plans to hold the agency to that.
During the same gathering, Ms Owens’ mother, Pamela Dias, said that she was seeking justice for her daughter and her grandchildren.
‘My daughter, my grandchildren’s 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.’
This is just the latest incident involving Florida’s controversial ‘stand your ground’ law.
In April, one of two men who shot each other’s daughters in a road rage incident has seen his charges dropped after prosecutors decided he acted in self-defense under the legislation.
Frank Allison, 44, opened fire on William Hale, 36, after the two began swerving and brake-checking each other on a Florida highway last year. He shot at Hale’s car after the 36-year-old flung a water bottle into his car during the fight.
But authorities decided that his first shot was justifiable under Florida’s ‘stand your ground’ self-defense law, determining that Hale was at fault for the ensuing chaos.
Florida’s ‘stand your ground’ law – what does it cover?
In Florida, you are allowed to use deadly force to defend yourself if you believe you’re in danger of being killed or seriously harmed by another person.
But unlike other states’ laws, you are not required to try to run away first before engaging in the deadly force.
People can use ‘stand your ground’ when they think there is a genuine reason they are about to be the victim of a serious crime.
But the statue states that it can’t be used to defend someone engaging in criminal activity.
People also cannot evoke the law if they are using deadly force against a law enforcement officer who is performance their duties.
You can only use ‘stand your ground’ if the person is in a place where they’re legally allowed to be – so someone won’t be able to use the law while they’re breaking into someone’s home, for example.
According to Florida Statues Chapter 776: ‘A person is justified in using or threatening to use deadly force if he or she reasonably believes that using or threatening to use such force is necessary to prevent imminent death or great bodily harm to himself or herself or another or to prevent the imminent commission of a forcible felony.
‘A person who uses or threatens to use deadly force in accordance with this subsection does not have a duty to retreat and has the right to stand his or her ground if the person using or threatening to use the deadly force is not engaged in a criminal activity and is in a place where he or she has a right to be.’