A Nigerian woman living in the US was fatally shot last Friday in an incident that a nationally renowned civil rights attorney Ben Crump has described as an “unjustified killing.”
The children of the victim, identified as Ajike “AJ” Owens, were playing in a field near an apartment complex in Ocala, Florida, when Susan Louise Lorincz, 58, “began yelling at them to get off her land and calling them racial slurs.”
According to Crump’s statement, after the woman yelled slurs at Owens’ children, they accidentally left an iPad behind, which the woman took.
During the argument Lorincz threw a roller skate at Owens’ 10-year-old son and later swung an umbrella at him and a sibling, according to the sheriff’s office.
When one of Ajike’s children went to retrieve it, she threw it, hitting the boy and cracking the screen. Ajike walked across the street to speak to her neighbor after she learned what happened, Crump said.
“She knocked on the door, and at that point, the woman allegedly shot through the door, hitting Ajike, who later died from her injuries,” Crump said.
Owens was shot in the upper chest, leading to her death.
At a news conference Monday, Marion County Sheriff Billy Woods disclosed that there had been a long-standing “neighborhood feud” between the shooter and Ajike about her children.
“I’ve got reports that one side or the other — either the mother, Ms. (Ajike) Owens, or the shooter — has called,” Woods said. “Complaining about the children — children being children.”
The children may have been hit by a pair of skates. “Was something thrown at them? Yes, but not directly at them of what we’re being told now,” Woods said. “It just unfortunately may have hit them.” He added: “The children are a big part of answering a lot our questions.”
Woods said when Ajike came to the shooter’s door, there was a heated exchange. “Owens was shot through the door. At least two of Owens’ four children may have witnessed the shooting, which occurred about 9 p.m,” Woods added.
Woods promised Owens’ family his office will provide all resources available to seek justice in the case.
The suspect Susan Louise Lorincz was arrested on Tuesday, on charges of manslaughter with a firearm, culpable negligence, battery and two counts of assault, the sheriff’s office said in a statement.
Lorincz told investigators that she acted in self-defense “and that Owens had been trying to break down her door prior to her discharging her firearm,” the sheriff’s office said.
Civil rights attorney Ben Crump, who is representing the Owens family, and others have, however, raised questions about race and Florida’s “stand your ground” self-defense law.