Skip to main content

‘Just a killing’: White neighbor who killed Black mom in front of kids arrested as authorities say self-defense claim ‘not justifiable’ 

Susan Louise Lorincz and Ajike AJ Owens (Marion County Sheriff's Office)

Susan Louise Lorincz and Ajike AJ Owens (Marion County Sheriff’s Office)

A 58-year-old woman in Florida has been arrested nearly a week after she allegedly killed a 35-year-old Black mother of four — fatally shooting the victim in front of her young son — in what local authorities say was the violent culmination of a multi-year feud between the neighbors.

Susan Louise Lorincz was taken into custody Tuesday evening and charged with one count each of first-degree manslaughter with a firearm, culpable negligence, and battery, as well as two counts of assault in the shooting death of Ajike “AJ” Owens, authorities announced.

The arrest came as authorities were coming under increased pressure to bring charges against Lorincz for shooting her unarmed neighbor through the front door of her home after Owens had knocked several times in order to speak with Lorincz about her aggressive and allegedly racist actions towards Owens’ children earlier in the day.

During a Monday vigil, Owens’ mother, Pamela Dias, said there was no way Lorincz — who she claimed regularly called her grandchildren the “n-word” and “slaves” — believed her life was in danger when she fired at Owens.

“The mother, the protector of her children, she wanted to know why this happened. A closed, locked door. The door never opened,” Dias said. “My daughter, my grandchildren’s mother, was shot and killed with her 9-year-old son standing next to her. She had no weapon. She posed no imminent threat to anyone.”

According to a press release from the Marion County Sheriff’s Office, deputies at about 9 p.m. on Friday, June 2 responded to a call regarding alleged trespassing at an apartment complex located in the 1600 block of SW 108th Lane in Ocala, about 70 miles northwest of Orlando. While en route to the address, deputies learned that there had been shots fired and upon arriving at the scene they located an adult female victim — later identified as Owens — suffering from a gunshot wound to the chest and immediately began rendering aid until medics could reach the area. Marion County Fire Rescue transported Owens to HCA Florida Ocala Hospital where she ultimately succumbed to her injury and was pronounced dead.

Authorities say Lorincz admitted to shooting Owens, but claimed that she did so in self-defense, saying that Owens had been trying to break down her door when she pulled the trigger, the release states. Lorincz further claimed that Owens had “come after her in the past and previously attacked her.”

Authorities said that Lorincz’s self-defense claim triggered the state’s “stand your ground” law, which Sheriff Billy Woods said prevents any arrests until after certain aspects about the circumstances of the shooting could be determined by investigators. The law allows individuals who believe their lives are in imminent danger to defend themselves with deadly force without requiring any attempt to flee.

“That law has specific instructions for us and law enforcement, and any time that we think or perceive or believe that might come into play, we cannot make an arrest,” Woods said. “The law specifically says that, and what we have to rule out is whether the deadly force was justified or not before we can even make the arrest.”

Sheriff Woods on Tuesday evening said that the evidence gathered during the preliminary investigation showed that Lorincz was the antagonist in the dispute and was not acting in self-defense when she fired at Owens, describing the shooting as “simply a killing.”

According to the release, interviews with neighbors and witnesses to the shooting — including some of Owens’ own children — as well as forensic evidence and surveillance footage established that Lorincz had, “over a period of time,” grown increasingly upset with Owens’ children for “playing in a field close to her home.”

“On June 2, Lorincz engaged in an argument with the children and was overhead yelling at them by a neighbor. During this argument, Lorincz threw a roller skate at Owens’ 10-year-old son, striking the child in the toe,” the release states. “After this, when the child and his 12-year-old brother went to speak to Lorincz, she opened her door and swung at them with an umbrella. The children then went and told their mother, Owens, about what had happened. Owens approached Lorincz’s home, knocked on the door multiple times, and demanded that Lorincz come outside. Lorincz then fired one shot through the door, striking Owens in her upper chest. At the time she was shot, Owens’ 10-year-old son was standing beside her.”

Civil rights attorney Ben Crump applauded the arrest, but also called for “archaic laws” like “stand your ground” to be eradicated, calling it “an important step in a necessary journey to justice for AJ.”

A GoFundMe for Owens’ family can be found here.

Have a tip we should know? [email protected]

Filed Under:

Follow Law&Crime:

Jerry Lambe is a journalist at Law&Crime. He is a graduate of Georgetown University and New York Law School and previously worked in financial securities compliance and Civil Rights employment law.