In a case that has stirred outrage and intensified discussions on racial tensions, a white woman charged with fatally shooting a black mother of four has been granted bond by Marion County Circuit Judge, Robert Hodges.
Susan Louise Lorincz, 58, faces charges of manslaughter with a firearm, culpable negligence and two counts of assault and battery. All of these are in connection with the death of her neighbour, 25-year-old Ajike “AJ” Owens. The tragic incident occurred on June 2 when Owens was shot through the front door of Lorincz’s home.
The bond, set at $150,000, comes with several conditions should Lorincz post it. She will be prohibited from contacting Owens’ family, forbidden from possessing firearms and required to surrender her passport. Additionally, she will be subjected to ankle monitoring at all times,
As reported by the Ocala Star-Banner-
The shooting that claimed Owens’ life marked the distressing culmination of a two-year dispute between the two women concerning where Owens’ four children played in the neighbourhood. Allegedly, Lorincz, who is white, had shown hostility towards Owens’ young children on the night of the shooting, giving them the middle finger and directing racial slurs at them, including “black slave,” according to police statements. Lorincz had also reportedly struck one of the children with a roller skate in a separate incident.
When Owens confronted Lorincz about the confrontation, accompanied by one of her sons, tragedy struck as Owens was shot in the chest. Heartbreakingly, Owens’ 9-year-old son was present during the shooting, witnessing the horrifying event unfold.
Pamela Dias, Owens’ mother, spoke about the impact on Owens’ children, revealing that they have begun blaming themselves for their mother’s untimely death. The weight of guilt rests heavily on the 12-year-old, who believed he could have saved her. Dias shared his words, saying, “[The 12-year-old] told me ‘I couldn’t save her. I tried to give her CPR.'”
Lorincz, asserting that the shooting was an act of self-defence, was arrested four days after the incident but was initially denied bond due to the possibility of a pre-trial detention motion from the state. During her bond hearing, she expressed her intention to return to court as required and disclosed that she is currently facing eviction from the residence where the shooting occurred.
National civil rights attorney Ben Crump, representing Owens’ family, has called for Lorincz’s manslaughter charge to be upgraded to murder. The case has sparked a broader conversation about justice and equality. Crump emphasises the need for impartiality regardless of race in such cases.
As the community grapples with the aftermath of this tragic event, testimonies from neighbours shed light on the contentious relationship between Lorincz and the children playing in the area. Lauren Smith, a resident living across the street, described Lorincz as constantly angry towards the children, making derogatory remarks. Smith found Lorincz’s self-defence claim outrageous, echoing the sentiments of many who question the justification for the fatal shooting.
The granting of a bond, in this case, has ignited controversy. Further intensifying discussions surrounding racial dynamics and the pursuit of justice. As the legal proceedings continue, the community and the nation await further developments in this case. Particularly as it has exposed deep-rooted tensions and raised important questions about equality and the consequences of prejudice.