A woman accused of fatally shooting her Florida neighbor in a dispute that involved the slain woman’s children was arrested Tuesday, the Marion County Sheriff’s Office said.
Susan Louise Lorincz, 58, was arrested on charges of manslaughter with a firearm, culpable negligence, battery and two counts of assault, the sheriff’s office said in a statement.
Lorincz, who is white, is accused of fatally shooting Ajike “AJ” Owens, who was Black, through a closed door in Ocala on Friday night, according to the sheriff’s office.
Civil rights attorney Ben Crump, who is representing the Owens family, and others have demanded an arrest, and they raised questions about race and Florida’s “stand your ground” self-defense law.
“While we are relieved that the woman apparently responsible for the tragic killing of Ajike ‘AJ’ Owens has been arrested, we are no less concerned that accountability has taken this long because archaic laws like Stand Your Ground exist,” attorneys for Owens’ family, including Crump, said in a statement Tuesday night.
The shooting happened around 9 p.m. Friday. Lorincz had over time been angry at Owens’ children’s playing in a nearby field and “engaged in an argument” with the children, the sheriff’s office said.
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. Owens then knocked on Lorincz’s door multiple times, and Lorincz shot her through the door, the sheriff’s office said.
Owens was shot in the upper chest and died, it said.
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 in a statement.
Sheriff Billy Woods said investigators were legally required to investigate whether Florida’s “stand your ground” law applied before they made an arrest.
Woods said the killing of Owens was not justified under the self-defense law.
“It was simply a killing,” he said.
In an interview earlier Tuesday, Crump said there could be no justification for the killing.
“No way she should feel that this person knocking on the door would be able to cause death to her or imminent bodily harm,” Crump said. “And if she did feel fear, call the police. Why shoot through a metal door?”
Owens was a mother of four, the family attorneys have said.
Lorincz fired one shot through the door, the sheriff’s office said.
Crump said that Owens’ children had been playing in a field near an apartment complex and that the woman who would later shoot her yelled at the children. One of the children left an iPad behind, which the woman took, he said.
A sheriff’s incident report, which is redacted with the names blacked out, mentions that deputies were told at the scene an iPad was taken by a woman who was at that time described as a suspect.
Deputies had been responding to a call about trespassing that night when they were informed there was a shooting, and they arrived to find Owens lying in the grass not breathing after having been shot, according to a sheriff’s office incident report.
There had been disputes between the two women in the past, the sheriff has said.
Manslaughter with a firearm is a felony punishable by up to 30 years in prison, the sheriff’s office said.
It was not immediately clear late Tuesday whether Lorincz had an attorney who could speak on her behalf.
Ocala is a city of around 63,000 around 60 miles northwest of Orlando.