A woman in Florida who was accused of fatally shooting her neighbor after a dispute involving the victim’s children was arrested on Tuesday, the authorities said.
The woman, Susan Louise Lorincz, 58, was charged with manslaughter with a firearm in the shooting death of Ajike Owens, 35, the Marion County Sheriff’s Office said in a statement early Wednesday.
Ms. Lorincz was also charged with culpable negligence, battery and two counts of assault.
Since the shooting, on Friday night, there had been rising tensions and calls of concern over the pace of the investigation, which was complicated by the state’s “stand your ground” law. On Monday, Ms. Owens’s family held a news conference calling on the authorities to arrest the shooter.
On Friday around 9 p.m., the authorities were responding to a trespassing call in Ocala, Fla., when they received another call about a shooting at the same address. When the authorities arrived outside of Ms. Lorincz’s apartment, they found Ms. Owens, a mother of four, suffering from a gunshot wound. She was given first aid and taken to a hospital, where she was pronounced dead.
The sheriff’s office said on Tuesday that detectives had been conducting a thorough investigation since the shooting, including interviewing Ms. Owens’s children.
The authorities said that Ms. Lorincz had become angry at Ms. Owens’s children, who were playing in a field close to her home.
She began arguing with the children, they said, and was overheard yelling at them by a neighbor. During the argument, the police said, Ms. Lorincz threw a roller skate at Ms. Owens’s 10-year-old son, hitting him in the toe, and later swung an umbrella at them.
The children told their mother what happened and she went to Ms. Lorincz’s home, knocked on the door multiple times, and demanded that she come outside. Ms. Lorincz then fired one shot through the door, striking Ms. Owens in the upper chest, the police said. One of Ms. Owens’s sons was standing next to her when she was shot.
Ben Crump and Anthony D. Thomas, lawyers working with the family, issued a statement on Monday describing what they said happened, which differs slightly from the account given by the police and claims Ms. Lorincz used racial slurs when yelling at the children. Ms. Lorincz is white, and Ms. Owens was Black.
The police said that, in an interview, Ms. Lorincz had claimed that she acted in self-defense and that Ms. Owens was trying to break down her door. She also accused Ms. Owens of attacking her before.
“Detectives were able to establish that Lorincz’s actions were not justifiable under Florida law,” the sheriff’s office said.
“Sometimes, when we do these investigations of cases of this level, rushing into making an arrest is not the right thing to do sometimes,” Sheriff Billy Woods said in a video statement. “The justice we have been all been seeking has been served. The peace for them is still a ways down the road.”
The shooting of Ms. Owens is the latest of similar incidents that have renewed focus on the legal protections for people who say they have feared for their safety. Some have involved cases where victims have mistakenly approached the wrong house.
“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,” Mr. Crump and Mr. Thomas said in a statement after the arrest.
“What does it say when a person can shoot and kill an unarmed mother in the presence of her young children, and not be immediately taken into custody, questioned, and charged,” the lawyers said.
Pamela Dias, Ms. Owens’s mother, said Monday in a news conference that her daughter had been rendered voiceless. “We are here on her behalf,” she said. “We are here on behalf of the four kids that are left behind, without a mother.”
Christine Hauser contributed reporting.
Derrick Bryson Taylor is a general assignment reporter. He previously worked at The New York Post’s PageSix.com and Essence magazine.
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