A woman in Florida, who was free without charge after allegedly shooting an African-American neighbor to death last Friday, was finally arrested Tuesday.five days later and in the midst of demands for justice from the community.
The Marion County Sheriff’s Office, in central Florida, confirmed Wednesday the Susan Louise Lorincz, 58, is arrested on charges of manslaughter and other crimes in the death of Ajike “AJ” Owens, 35.
“Through the investigation, which included obtaining eyewitness statements (…), it was established that Lorincz’s actions are not justifiable under Florida law,” the sheriff’s office said.
Following his arrest on Tuesday night, Lorincz was charged with manslaughter with a firearm, negligence and various counts of assault.
After Owens’ death, Lorincz alleged that he acted in self-defense, since the victim tried to break down the door of his home, located in a residential complex in the town of Ocala. In addition, she assured that the woman had chased her in the past and had previously attacked her.
However, several residents of the area said in interviews with NBC News that Lorincz has a history of bullying children in the community and using racial slurs against them.. Some even said that he recorded minors and sometimes pointed weapons at them.
“He used to go out all the time and harass our kids. Everyone in this neighborhood has fought with this lady over our children,” said Phyllis Wills, 33, who has lived in the neighborhood for about 15 years and knew the victim.
Sharna Mozell, 36, another neighbor who has been in the area for about 12 years, said Lorincz bullied children and was known in the neighborhood as “Karen,” a sarcastic term for a white woman who bullies people of color. and has a reputation as a racist.
Owens was unarmed
Owens, a mother of four children, the eldest of whom is 12, was shot Friday through the door as she stood in the driveway of Lorincz’s home.
Owens was struck in the upper chest and died.according to the sheriff’s office.
Apparently Owens went to claim her neighbor for the insults she had made to her children for playing on nearby land and because she had an IPad that the children left behind.
According to the sheriff’s office, Lorincz also threw a skateboard at Owens’ 10-year-old son and then threw an umbrella at him and his brother.
The fact that Loricz was not arrested or charged immediately after Owens’ death sparked outrage among the African-American community, which mobilized to demand justice.
Sheriff Billy Woods justified that Lorincz was not in custody because they had to determine whether a controversial Florida self-defense law known as “Stand Your Ground” could be applied to the case.
Such a law that allows a person who believes they are at risk of death or serious bodily harm to use “deadly force” instead of fleeing the scene.
Woods also said at a news conference on Monday that the investigation into the events was still ongoing and that only when it was completed would they present the results to the district attorney general.
The well-known civil rights lawyer Ben Crump, who led the legal team for the family of George Floyd, the African-American murdered by a police officer in Minneapolis in 2020, represents the Owens family in this case.
In a statement published this Wednesday on Twitter, Crump welcomed the arrest of the alleged perpetrator of Owens’ death but noted that he remains “concerned” about the validity of an “archaic” law such as the so-called “Stand Your Ground” that allows ” kill an unarmed mother in the presence of her children.
In an interview with MSNBC on Monday, Owens’ mother said her daughter acted “as any parent would.”
“She just knocked on the door, she was unarmed, no weapons. She just wanted answers. She wanted to talk to another adult about the incident with her 9-year-old son,” she said.
Owens’ children witnessed his death
Wills was making dinner for his children when one of Owens’ sons knocked on his door.
“It was so loud my windows were shaking. So I said, ‘What the hell?’ And I go and open the door and it’s Isaac, his eldest son, and he’s kind of out of breath. He can barely speak. And he says: ‘The lady shot my mom!‘” said the victim’s neighbor.
“When she said that, I already know who she’s talking about, because she’s the only person here who got into a fight with the kids,” Wills added.
Agents had been responding to a trespass call that night when they were told there was a shooting. When they arrived they found Owens lying on the grass not breathing, according to an incident report from the sheriff’s office.
Mozell’s son, Jamerien Wilson, 18, said he witnessed the aftermath of the shooting.
He said that when he got out, he saw police cars everywhere and then he saw Owens on the ground and someone performing CPR.
Pamela Dias, Owens’ mother, said that Her grandchildren, who range in age from 3 to 12, have been affected “in many ways” since their mother’s death.
She noted that both of Owens’ children, including a 9-year-old boy who watched his mother being killed, blame themselves for her death.
“In his soul, in his heart, it’s his fault,” he said, explaining how the boy told his mother what Lorincz allegedly did before the shooting, sparking the confrontation.
Dias added: “Our 12-year-old son blames himself for his mother’s death because he couldn’t save her. He couldn’t give her CPR. His words were: ‘Grandma, Grandma, I couldn’t save her.’
With information from EFE