Black mother of 4 Ajike Owens shot and killed by neighbor
A mother of four was shot and killed in Florida following a longtime feud with a neighbor who had complained about the victim’s children playing outside, authorities and a family attorney said.
Deputies responded to a trespassing call Friday night and found one woman suffering from a gunshot wound, Marion County, Florida, Sheriff Billy Woods said in a Monday news conference.
The victim was identified by authorities as Ajike “AJ” Owens. She was 35.
The shooter, also a woman, “engaged” with Owens’ children and threw a pair of skates, hitting the children, the sheriff said. A witness told police there had been a dispute over a child’s electronic tablet device prior to the shooter throwing the skates at the children, according to an incident report from the sheriff’s office.
Following that interaction, one of the children went back inside their home and told their mother, who went to the neighbor’s home “to confront the lady,” the sheriff said.
According to the shooter, there was “a lot of aggressiveness” from both sides, as well as threats being made, and Owens was ultimately shot through the door, Woods said.
Witnesses told authorities Owens went to the shooter’s home and knocked on the door before she was shot, according to the incident report.
Owens was later pronounced dead at a hospital, authorities said.
The woman who fired at Owens has been cooperating with law enforcement, the sheriff added. No arrest has been made in the case.
Authorities have not named the shooter or shared any identifying information. But civil rights attorney Ben Crump, one of the attorneys representing the family, identified her as a White woman, according to a news release from his office Monday. The incident report also described the shooter as a 58-year-old White woman.
In a separate news conference held by Owens’ family attorneys, the victim’s mother said the neighbor who shot her daughter had called the family, including the children, racial slurs.
The neighbor’s door “never opened,” when Owens, who was Black, tried to confront her, and she was shot through the door, Pamela Dias, the victim’s mother 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,” Dias said.
“What I’m asking is for justice,” she added. “Justice for my daughter.”
Speaking to MSNBC Monday night, Crump said the fact that there has not been an arrest in the case is “appalling.”
“It is asinine when they try to justify this unjustifiable killing of this mother of four who was killed in front of her children,” Crump said. “It is heartbreaking on every level.”
A verified GoFundMe page to support Owens’ family had raised more than $30,000 by Monday night.