After years of threats, a feud ends with a Black mother lifeless and her white neighbor arrested

OCALA, Fla. (AP) — A lady accused of capturing and killing a mom in entrance of her youngsters final week in a stunning finish to an ongoing feud between neighbors was arrested Tuesday.

Susan Louise Lorincz, 58, who’s white, was charged with manslaughter with a firearm, culpable negligence, battery and two counts of assault within the dying of Ajike Owens, a Black mom of 4, Sheriff Billy Woods mentioned in a press release.

Authorities got here beneath stress Tuesday to arrest and cost Lorincz, who fired the gun and killed Owens in a case that has put Florida’s divisive stand your floor regulation again into the highlight.

In a video posted on Fb late Tuesday evening, the sheriff mentioned this was not a stand your floor case however “merely a killing.”

“Now lots of you had been struggling to grasp why there was not a right away arrest,” the sheriff mentioned. “The legal guidelines right here within the state of Florida are clear. Now I could not like them. I could not agree with them. However nevertheless, these legal guidelines I’ll observe.”

The video shared by the sheriff’s workplace exhibits two detectives and a deputy main Lorincz down a hallway along with her palms behind her again.

Jail data present she was booked, however didn’t checklist a lawyer who may communicate on her behalf. Lorincz didn’t attend the primary court docket listening to on Wednesday since she’s present process medical testing, sheriff’s officers mentioned in a press release.

Throughout a information convention at New St. John Missionary Baptist Church on Wednesday afternoon, the sufferer’s household, mates and group leaders joined civil rights legal professional Ben Crump in thanking the sheriff for making the arrest, whereas calling for justice for Owens.

“This isn’t a tough case,” Crump mentioned. He referred to as on the state legal professional’s workplace to “zealously prosecute” the shooter.

Crump, together with Owens’s mom and a number of neighbors famous through the information convention that the “feud” the sheriff spoke of was between Lorincz and neighborhood youngsters, who usually performed in so much outdoors her house. Neighbors mentioned Lorincz steadily referred to as the youngsters vile names and antagonized them.

That was the case on Friday evening, they mentioned. Sheriff’s deputies responded to a trespassing name and located Owens with gunshot wounds.

The neighborhood of single-story duplexes and quadruplexes is within the rolling hills outdoors of Ocala. The realm is thought for its thoroughbred horse farms, which encompass the working-class neighborhood.

Lorincz instructed investigators that she acted in self-defense, and that Owens, 35, had been making an attempt to interrupt down her door earlier than she fired the gun, the sheriff mentioned. She additionally instructed them that Owens had come after her up to now, and had beforehand attacked her.

Sheriff Woods mentioned the investigation, which included eyewitness statements, established that Lorincz’s actions weren’t justifiable beneath Florida regulation.

Earlier the sheriff had mentioned that due to the stand your floor regulation he couldn’t make an arrest until he may show the shooter didn’t act in self-defense.

In line with the sheriff’s account, Owens was shot moments after going to Lorincz’s residence as a result of she had yelled had at Owens’ youngsters as they performed outdoors. He mentioned Lorincz had thrown a pair of skates that hit one of many youngsters.

The sheriff’s workplace hasn’t confirmed there have been slurs uttered or mentioned whether or not race was an element within the capturing.

Owens’ mom, Pamela Dias, mentioned Wednesday that her two younger grandsons, ages 12 and 9, are coping with emotions of guilt — as a result of they had been with their mother outdoors Lorincz’s home that night, and noticed her get shot.

“Our 12-year-old blames himself for the dying of his mom as a result of he couldn’t save her. He couldn’t give her CPR,” Dias mentioned.

Hours earlier than the arrest on Tuesday, some three dozen protesters, most of them Black, gathered outdoors the Marion County Judicial Heart, demanding the shooter’s arrest. The chief prosecutor, State Lawyer William Gladson, met with them and urged endurance whereas the investigation continued.

“If we’re going to make a case we want as a lot time and as a lot proof as attainable,” Gladson mentioned. “I don’t need to compromise any felony investigation.”

In a press release late Tuesday, Crump mentioned whereas Owens’ household is “relieved” that an arrest has been made, they continue to be involved it has taken this lengthy as a result of “archaic legal guidelines like Stand Your Floor exist” Crump additionally represented the household of Trayvon Martin who was fatally shot by George Zimmerman in central Florida in 2012.

Lauren Smith, 40, lives throughout the road from the place the capturing occurred. She was on her porch that day and noticed one in every of Owens’ younger sons pacing, and yelling, “They shot my mama, they shot my mama.”

She ran towards the home, and began chest compressions till a rescue crew arrived. She mentioned there wasn’t an altercation and that Owens didn’t have a weapon.

“She was offended on a regular basis that the youngsters had been enjoying on the market,” Smith mentioned. “She would say nasty issues to them. Simply nasty.” Smith, who’s white, described the neighborhood is household pleasant.

The sheriff mentioned that since January 2021, deputies responded at the very least a half-dozen calls in reference to what police described as feuding between Owens and Lorincz.

“There was a number of aggressiveness from each of them, forwards and backwards,” the sheriff mentioned Lorincz instructed investigators. “Whether or not or not it’s banging on the doorways, banging on the partitions and threats being made. After which at that second is when Ms. Owens was shot by the door.”

Stand your floor instances are deemed justifiable 5 occasions extra steadily when a white shooter kills a Black sufferer, in accordance with Angela Ferrell-Zabala, govt director of Mothers Demand Motion for Gun Sense in America.

In 2017, Florida lawmakers shifted the burden of proof from an individual claiming self-defense to prosecutors. Earlier than the change in regulation, prosecutors may cost somebody with a capturing, after which protection attorneys must current an affirmative protection for why their consumer shouldn’t be convicted. Now authorities should rule out self-defense earlier than bringing expenses.

Stand your floor and “fort doctrine” instances — which permit residents to defend themselves both by regulation or court docket precedent when threatened — have sparked outrage amid a spate of shootings throughout the nation.

In April, 84-year-old Andrew Lester, a white man, shot and injured 16-year-old Ralph Yarl, a Black teenager who rang his doorbell in Kansas Metropolis. Yarl mistakenly went to the incorrect home to choose up his youthful siblings. Lester faces felony expenses. At trial, he might argue that he thought somebody was making an attempt to interrupt into his home.

Missouri and Florida are amongst about 30 states which have stand your floor legal guidelines.

Essentially the most well-known examples of the stand your floor argument got here up within the trial of George Zimmerman, who fatally shot Trayvon Martin in 2012.

Owens’ mom mentioned she is going to now elevate her 4 younger grandchildren.

“I pray that God provides me the power, the knowledge and the power to boost these youngsters as our daughter would have us to do,” Dias mentioned, of receiving childcare assist from household and mates. “I thank God that I don’t should do it alone.”


Frisaro reported from Fort Lauderdale.

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