Woman Shot by Neighbor Over “Feud,” Attorney Calls it an “Unjustified Killing”

A horrific killing has renewed calls for justice in the Marion County, Florida community. Ajike “AJ” Owens, a Black woman, was fatally shot on Friday June 2, by a neighbor who allegedly used racial slurs against her children.

The children had been playing across the street on a property with which the neighbor had an issue. The neighbor, a 58-year-old White woman, yelled at the children, allegedly using racial slurs. The children then left the property leaving behind an iPad.

Ownes went to the woman’s porch to talk with her and, according to reports to retrieve the iPad. The woman fired a shot through the door of her apartment after it became a heated exchange with Owens. Civil rights attorney Ben Crump described the incident as an “unjustified killing,” the crowd has been calling for the shooter’s arrest.

At a news conference on Monday, Marion County Sheriff Billy Woods shared details of the unlikely clash. They reported an ongoing “neighborhood feud” between Owens and the neighbor about Owen’s children. He mentioned that the woman threw the iPad towards the children. At least two of Owens’ children may have witnessed the killing.

Sheriff Woods shared his regret that the shooter had resorted to taking matters into her own hands instead of calling the police and declared his department’s commitment to seeking justice in the case. He also commented on whether or not Florida’s controversial “stand your ground” law applies to the shooting. The law allows self-defense with deadly force if a person believes their life is in immediate danger.

At a press conference, Owens’ mother, Pamela Dias, explained that her daughter was merely acting as a protective mother looking for answers when she approached her neighbor’s home.

Bishop J. David Stockton III pointed out that the tragedy reflects the alarming frequency that Black people face violence in the United States, and attorney Anthony D. Thomas, who represents the Owens family, said the community is vigilantly tracking how seriously Sheriff Woods’ office takes the case.