By AFRO Staff

An arrest has been made in the killing of a Florida Black woman, allegedly shot dead as she attempted to address an altercation that occurred between her children and a neighbor. 

“We have arrested 58-year-old Susan Lorincz for the killing of Ms. Ajike Owens,” announced Marion County Sheriff Billy Woods. “My detectives have been working around the clock since this happened– sifting through evidence and interviewing witnesses.” 

Though Woods said Owens deserves justice, in the same breath, he said it might come slowly for the 35-year-old mother. 

“We want the same thing…and that’s justice. Now, here’s the thing about justice– she’s on her own time– not my time, not a prosecutor’s time, not even a mob’s time,” Woods told reporters during a press conference that was live-streamed on the official Facebook page for the Marion County Sheriff’s Office.

The remarks were in response to public outcry over the fact that Lorincz was not immediately arrested for the killing. 

“Many of you were struggling to understand why there was not an immediate arrest,” said Woods. “The laws here in the state of Florida are clear– I may not like them, I may not agree with them– however, those laws I will follow. Sometimes when we do investigations of cases of this level, rushing in to make an arrest is not the right thing to do. In fact, it could probably cause complications or cause errors.” 

“We want to ensure that…that justice is served all the way through the courts, and that the individual gets what they deserve. That’s one of the things my detectives cannot complete– an investigation without getting all sides of a story. That night, all we had was one person’s story–and that was the shooter’s story.” 

According to information released by the Marion County Sheriff’s Office (MCSO), the tragic shooting took place on June 2 around 9 p.m. 

MCSO officers first received a trespassing call that requested assistance in the 1600 block of SW 107th Lane in Ocala, Fla. While they were responding, a second call for help came in about a shooting at the same address. 

“When deputies arrived, they located Owens in front of Lorincz’s apartment, suffering from a gunshot wound. Deputies rendered aid to Owens until Marion County Fire Rescue (MCFR) responded and transported her to HCA Florida Ocala Hospital, where she ultimately succumbed to her injuries,” reported MCSO, in a public statement. 

An investigation began the same night and since that time, law enforcement officers have taken statements from witnesses to the killing, Lorincz and Owen’s children. 

According to MCSO, “the evidence gathered during the investigation established that, over a period of time, Lorincz had become angry at Owens’ children, who were playing in a field close to her home. On June 2, Lorincz engaged in an argument with the children and was overheard 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 child and another sibling approached Lorincz, but she opened her door and began swinging 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,” according to reports from MCSO. “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.”

Lorincz immediately said that the gunshot was discharged in self-defense, and that Owens was erratically beating on the entrance to the home as if she “had been trying to break down her door” before a shot was fired.  

“Lorincz also claimed that Owens had come after her in the past and had previously attacked her. Through their investigation – including obtaining the statements of eyewitnesses who only came forward as late as yesterday – detectives were able to establish that Lorincz’s actions were not justifiable under Florida law,” said the sheriff’s office. “Lorincz was arrested for manslaughter with a firearm, a first-degree felony punishable by 30 years imprisonment, as well as culpable negligence, battery, and two counts of assault.”

Upon receiving questions about Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” law, Sheriff Woods said he has no issue with the law.

“Personally, I think it’s a great law designed to help Floridians defend themselves and keep themselves safe,” said Woods. “However, it does not apply in all situations. And this situation is a prime example of when it was not justified.” 

“It was simply a killing.”