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Neighbor Arrested for Allegedly Killing Mom of 4 Over Feud About Kids Playing Outside

A 35-year-old Florida mom of four, Ajike “AJ” Owens, was allegedly fatally shot by her neighbor through her door on June 2 after attempting to confront her for yelling at her children, reported the New York Post.

The 58-year-old woman had been yelling at Owens’ children playing in a nearby lot outside their home in Ocala and even reportedly threw a pair of skates at them. There had been a two-year-long feud between Owens and Susan Lorincz, her neighbor, the news outlet reported.

There had initially not been an arrest because Lorincz said it was “self defense” and because of Florida’s “stand your ground” laws. But Lorincz was taken into custody and charged with manslaughter on Tuesday.

This was not the first incident between the neighbors.
Authorities reported that all of Owens’ four children, ranging in ages 2 to 12, were present at the scene where the shooting took place, reported the New York Post. The Marion County Sheriff’s Office said that during a disagreement between Owens’ children and Lorincz, their neighbor threw a roller skate at the children that hit Owens’ 10-year-old son, prompting the mother to go and knock on the neighbor’s door. Owens was then shot by Lorincz through the door while her 10-year-old son stood beside her, authorities reported.

This was not the first incident between Owen and Lorincz. Marion County Sheriff Billy Woods said deputies responded to around half a dozen calls in connection with conflicts between Owens and Lorincz, going back to January 2021, the outlet reported. A neighbor who lives across the street, Lauren Smith, also reported the neighbor would say “nasty things” to Owens children and was “angry all the time that the children were playing out there,” per the New York Post.

The arrest comes after protests about how the police handled the case.
Civil rights attorney Ben Crump, one of several attorneys representing Owens’ family said, “[The shooter] could have called 911. She could have did 100 other things than to use deadly force. It is unacceptable,” reported CNN.

Protesters gathered in the streets of Downtown Ocala and marched to the State Attorney’s Office on June 6, calling for charges in Owens’ death, per WCJB 20.

“We need to draw attention to what’s going on because if you sit back nothing is going to happen,” said Jay Williams, the news outlet reported. “Voices need to be heard. Even though people may think it’s not working, it is working because people are passing by blowing horns. Just our voices being heard.”

This is why ‘stand your ground laws’ are problematic.
Many have pointed out how the stand your ground laws in Florida are troublesome and too ambiguous, leaving much open to interpretation. A local sheriff said certain protocol has to be followed as well. “That law has specific instructions for us in law enforcement. Any time that we think, or perceive or believe that that might come into play, we cannot make an arrest, the law specifically says that,” he said, per CNN. He added, “What we have to rule out is whether the deadly force was justified or not before we can even make the arrest. I wish our shooter would have called us instead of taking actions into her own hands.”

But according to the National Conference of State Legislature, the defendant has to show that their actions were “reasonable” with a “presumption of reasonableness” or “presumption of fear.” But as Owens’ mother Pamela Dias pointed out, her daughter had no weapon when she knocked on the neighbor’s door and the door never opened.

“My daughter, my grandchildren’s mother, was shot and killed with her 9-year-old son standing next to her,” Dias said, per CNN. “She had no weapon, she posed no imminent threat to anyone.”

Readers had strong opinions about the outcome of this story.
Readers of the New York Post article covering the story had strong opinions of the outcome. While some argued the mother should have called police instead of confronting the neighbor, others pointed out that the neighbor shot the mother through her door, meaning it was not self-defense.

“Shooting through a locked door is NOT ‘Stand your ground’ Quit making racist excuses in the comments,” one reader wrote.

Another commented: “She murdered a woman who was with her child and she did it out of bitterness, hate, and bigotry. Her defense doesn’t have ground to stand on.”

“Claiming stand your ground when your behind a door is quite the stretch..but it’s Florida so acquittal upcoming,” wrote another.

Others pointed out that stand your ground laws leave too many factors open to interpretation.

“I think this ‘Stand your ground law’ needs more specifics added to it,” one person commented. “You just don’t shoot someone while you are still protected by a locked door. If the door gets busted open, then it’s different. But this should never have happened. R.I.P. young lady.”

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