After years of threats, a feud ends with a Black mom dead and her white neighbor arrested

This booking image provided by the Marion County Sheriff’s Office shows Susan Lorincz, center, after her arrest in Ocala, Fla., Tuesday, June 6, 2023. Lorincz is accused of fatally shooting her neighbor, Ajike Owens, a Black mother of four. (Marion County Sheriff’s Office via AP)

This Jan. 14, 2023, photo released by attorney Anthony D. Thomas, shows Owens, a 35-year-old mother of four from Ocala, Fla. The Marion County sheriff said Owens was shot and killed Friday, June 2, 2023, moments after going to the apartment of her neighbor, who had yelled at Owens' children as they played in a nearby lot. (Anthony D. Thomas via AP)

OCALA, Fla. — A woman accused of shooting and killing a mother in front of her kids last week in a shocking end to an ongoing feud between neighbors was arrested Tuesday.

Susan Louise Lorincz, 58, who is white, was charged with manslaughter with a firearm, culpable negligence, battery and two counts of assault in the death of Ajike Owens, a Black mother of four, Sheriff Billy Woods said in a statement.

ADVERTISING


Authorities came under pressure Tuesday to arrest and charge Lorincz, who fired the gun and killed Owens in a case that has put Florida’s divisive stand your ground law back into the spotlight.

In a video posted on Facebook late Tuesday night, the sheriff said this was not a stand your ground case but “simply a killing.”

“Now many of you were struggling to understand why there was not an immediate arrest,” the sheriff said. “The laws here in the state of Florida are clear. Now I may not like them. I may not agree with them. But however, those laws I will follow.”

The video shared by the sheriff’s office shows two detectives and a deputy leading Lorincz down a hallway with her hands behind her back.

Jail records show she was booked, but did not list a lawyer who could speak on her behalf. Lorincz did not attend the first court hearing on Wednesday since she’s undergoing medical testing, sheriff’s officials said in a statement.

During a news conference at New St. John Missionary Baptist Church on Wednesday afternoon, the victim’s family, friends and community leaders joined civil rights attorney Ben Crump in thanking the sheriff for making the arrest, while calling for justice for Owens.

“This is not a difficult case,” Crump said. He called on the state attorney’s office to “zealously prosecute” the shooter.

Crump, along with Owens’s mother and multiple neighbors noted during the news conference that the “feud” the sheriff spoke of was between Lorincz and neighborhood children, who often played in a lot outside her home. Neighbors said Lorincz frequently called the children vile names and antagonized them.

That was the case on Friday night, they said. Sheriff’s deputies responded to a trespassing call and found Owens with gunshot wounds.

The neighborhood of single-story duplexes and quadruplexes is in the rolling hills outside of Ocala. The area is known for its thoroughbred horse farms, which surround the working-class neighborhood.

Lorincz told investigators that she acted in self-defense, and that Owens, 35, had been trying to break down her door before she fired the gun, the sheriff said. She also told them that Owens had come after her in the past, and had previously attacked her.

Sheriff Woods said the investigation, which included eyewitness statements, established that Lorincz’s actions were not justifiable under Florida law.

Earlier the sheriff had said that because of the stand your ground law he couldn’t make an arrest unless he could prove the shooter did not act in self-defense.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*

By participating in online discussions you acknowledge that you have agreed to the Star-Advertiser's TERMS OF SERVICE. An insightful discussion of ideas and viewpoints is encouraged, but comments must be civil and in good taste, with no personal attacks. If your comments are inappropriate, you may be banned from posting. To report comments that you believe do not follow our guidelines, email hawaiiwarriorworld@staradvertiser.com.