Neighbors feud escalates into shooting of mother of four

In the wake of Ajike “AJ” Owens’ shooting death, calls for justice have grown louder in the Florida community. National attorney Ben Crump has denounced the incident as an “unjustified killing” and has presented an account of what happened on that fateful day.

According to his allegations, Owens’ children were playing in a field near an apartment complex in Ocala when the shooter, 58-year-old white female, yelled racial slurs at them. One of the children then dropped an iPad behind and when they returned to retrieve it, the shooter threw it at them, cracking the screen and then proceeding to call Owens over for an exchange.

At a press conference on Monday, Marion County Sheriff Billy Woods did not discount Crump’s statement, but neither could he confirm it. He did, however, bring to light a “long-standing neighborhood feud” between the two women.

Woods further clarified that an unspecified object might have hit the kids instead of the iPad and that when Owens reached the shooter’s door, a heated argument ensued and she was shot through the door. The sheriff also shared that at least two of Owens’ four children may have witnessed what happened.

At a news conference Monday afternoon at New Saint John Missionary Baptist Church in Ocala, emotions ran high as Owens’ mother, Pamela Dias, spoke of her daughter’s intentions to look for answers about why her neighbor had treated her children poorly.

Attorney Anthony D. Thomas, who represents the Owens family, asked for the Sheriff’s support in the investigations, and said that the community was closely monitoring the progress of investigation.

This shooting has sparked outrage, however at the center of it are questions about Florida’s stand your ground law which allows people to defend themselves with deadly force if they think they’re facing imminent threat to their life.

While Sheriff Woods relayed that the Sheriff’s office will have to rule out the applicability of this law, the question remains whether or not this incident will lead to an arrest. Owens’ mother, her attorney, and the Marion County NAACP all believe justice needs to be served and it is the goal of the Marion County Sheriff’s Office to provide all resources to seek justice in this case.