A woman from Florida was arrested and charged on Tuesday for the fatal shooting of her neighbor. The incident marked the tragic end of a long-standing dispute over the neighbor’s children playing outside.
Marion County Sheriff Billy Woods announced in a video on Facebook that Susan Lorincz, 58, had been taken into custody and charged with manslaughter.
The arrest followed protests demanding that the shooter be held accountable in this racially charged case. Initially, sheriff officials were reluctant to press charges against Lorincz, as they investigated whether she had acted in self-defense, considering the stand-your-ground laws in Florida.
“Ms. Lorincz’s fate is now in the hands of the judicial system, which I trust will deliver justice in due course,” Woods said in a statement.
“As I go to bed tonight, I will be saying a prayer for Ms. Owens’ children and the rest of her family. I’d ask all of you to do the same.”
On Friday night in Ocala, 35-year-old Ajike Owens, a mother of four, was tragically shot and killed through her neighbor’s door.
Marion County Sheriff Billy Woods revealed in a press conference on Monday that this incident was the culmination of a two-and-a-half year-long feud at an apartment complex. According to Woods, Owens had approached her neighbor’s residence after the neighbor yelled at her children while they were playing in a nearby lot.
Additionally, the neighbor had previously thrown a pair of skates that struck one of the children, as stated by the sheriff.
According to a statement given to Fox 35, Sheriff Woods explained that in order to make an arrest, investigators needed to gather a comprehensive understanding of the incident, which involved speaking with the four children of the victim.
“And we got a bigger picture, the full picture. And my detectives wanted to make sure that we closed all the loopholes, so she would not have the defense of using the ‘Stand Your Ground’ law, and this is not stand your ground,” the sheriff told FOX 35.
“Let me make that clear – this was not ‘stand your ground.’ It was an unjustified shooting.”
The sheriff’s office has stated that Lorincz is being charged with manslaughter with a firearm and culpable negligence. The charge of culpable negligence is due to the presence of children during the commission of the crime, as mentioned by Sheriff Woods.
Additionally, Lorincz is facing charges of assault and battery against Owens’ children from the previous altercation that occurred prior to the shooting, as reported by the station.
In the official release announcing the arrest, the sheriff’s office stated that the shooter asserted acting in self-defense and accused Owens of attempting to forcefully enter through the door.
The shooter, who is white, allegedly yelled racial slurs at Owens’ children, who are black, according to civil rights attorney Benjamin Crump, who is representing Owens’ family and also represented Travon Martin’s family in 2012 in a landmark fatal stand-your-ground case.
At this time, authorities have not confirmed whether any derogatory remarks were made or if the shooting was racially motivated, despite the allegations made by Crump prior to the arrest. According to a police report obtained by WKMG, all of Owens’ children, ranging in age from 2 to 12, were present at the scene when the deputies arrived.
During a confrontation between Lorincz and the young children, she threw a roller skate that struck a 10-year-old boy, as stated by the sheriff’s office on Wednesday. Subsequently, when the boy and his 12-year-old brother approached her door, she reportedly opened it and swung an umbrella at them, as described by the sheriff’s office.
Owens then confronted Lorincz and demanded that she come outside. Tragically, the mother was shot once with her 10-year-old son by her side, according to authorities. A neighbor named Lauren Smith, who was on her porch at the time of the incident, witnessed one of Owens’ young sons pacing and shouting, “They shot my mama, they shot my mama,” as she recounted to the Associated Press.
Upon witnessing the incident, Smith quickly rushed to the house and began performing chest compressions on Owens until the arrival of emergency medical technicians (EMTs). She asserted that there was no altercation and that the mother was not in possession of any weapon.
Expressing her observations, Smith stated that the neighbor responsible for the shooting “was constantly angry about the children playing in the area.” According to Smith, the neighbor would frequently utter offensive remarks towards the children, displaying a consistently unpleasant demeanor.
Describing the neighborhood as “family-friendly,” Smith finds the shooter’s claim of self-defense to be “outrageous.”
According to Woods, there have been at least six instances since January 2021 where deputies were called to respond to incidents related to the ongoing feud between Owens and the shooter.
“My baby was so full of life. She was a single mother of four,” Owens’ mother, Pamela Dias, said during a news conference on Monday.