A black mother of four has been killed after being shot to death by an unidentified white woman on Friday (June 2) following an altercation in Florida.
Now, the family of Ajike “AJ” Owenscivil rights lawyer Ben Crumpand the president of the NAACP chapter in Marion County is calling for the woman’s arrest, according to WESH. However, the state’s “stand by” laws could complicate their quest for justice.
Four black mothers, shot to death by an unidentified white woman, police and family say
Attorneys for the Owens family claim the young single mother was playing in a field in Marion County with her four children, all under the age of 12.
“She loves them with all she is. To know her is to know that her children are all hers,” said Owens’ mother, Pamela Dias. “My child is full of life. She is a single mother of four children.”
Investigators said Owens had a lingering feud with the shooter, a white woman, who had accused her children of trespassing on the area in the past, the newspaper reported.
“Harassment of children in the neighborhood,” added Dias. “The four children of Ajike Shantrelle Owens have been harassed. She calls them racial slurs: N-word, slave.
Ajike Owens’ children were playing in a field near an apartment complex when a white woman shouted racist slurs at them and asked to leave her property.
The kids left behind an iPad that she stole. When one of the kids came back to get it, she threw it at him and hit… pic.twitter.com/ckVMnSrP34
– chris evans (@notcapnamerica) June 5, 2023
Shooting: Broken iPad, alleged trespass at the heart of deadly confrontation
On the day of the shooting, the unnamed woman approached the family before allegedly calling them racial slurs. Owens is said to have gathered her children and left the scene.
However, one of Owen’s children realized that they had left an iPad in the field that the still-unidentified woman had recovered. When Owens’ children got their iPads back, WESH reported that the woman threw it on the ground and broke the screen.
Meanwhile, NBC News reported that the woman threw the iPad at the child, “accidentally” hitting the boy and breaking the screen. Attorney Crump confirmed this sequence of events in a public statement about the case.
Report of WESH claimed the woman actually threw a skate on the child.
COMMUNICATION WARNING: @AttorneyCrumpAttorney Anthony D. Thomas and the family of AJ Owens – the mother shot after knocking on the door of an unidentified woman – will hold a press conference today (June 5) to demand the arrest of the explosive. gun for this unprovoked murder. pic.twitter.com/BfmTundS4p
– Ben Crump Law, PLLC (@BenCrumpLaw) June 5, 2023
Owens is said to have responded by approaching the woman’s door to talk about the exchange, but instead of talking, the woman shot the mother through the closed door.
her mother, Pamela Dias, told the outlet that Ajike was unarmed and did not post “imminent threats to anyone.” Even so, Dias said her daughter was shot with her 9-year-old son next to her.
“My daughter, the mother of my niece, was shot and killed with her nine-year-old son standing next to her. She has no weapons. She poses no imminent threat to anyone,” Dias said WESH.
We were kept by the family of Ajike “AJ” Owens. We will continue to stand with her family and community members as they demand accountability for the deceased mother of four. #AjikeOwens pic.twitter.com/bEcnTYb729
– Ben Crump (@AttorneyCrump) June 5, 2023
Police speak out about resolving disputes between women in the past, the law “stands”
Meanwhile, Marion County Sheriff Billy Woods told the outlet that law enforcement is no stranger to the situation. The police had been called to settle the dispute between the women earlier.
Sheriff Woods described the incident as a “neighborhood feud” that escalated over time.
Sheriff Woods told the outlet: “We know that this is basically a neighborhood feud over time. “I have received reports that these things, they called, one side or the other. The mother, Mrs. Owens, called, or the shooter called to complain about the children.”
Woods added that arrest in this case could be difficult if not for one thing – the state’s controversial “stand by” law.
Sheriff Woods said: “Because we want to seek justice and we want to make sure we get the facts right, especially in a case of this magnitude, we don’t just always stand for one thing. beside. “Because it doesn’t always paint the big picture.”
Ajike “AJ” Owens, 35, was murdered in FL by a 58-year-old white neighbor because her kids were playing in the yard. Four kids without a mother and, stop if you’ve heard this before, the shooter has not been arrested so far for your stance. pic.twitter.com/NtQ8j6v5pQ
– Warren (@swd2) June 6, 2023
A Brief Analysis of the Controversial Stand-Your-Ground Law: Where It’s Found, What It Protects
The law states that a person has the right to respond to force with deadly force. However, it only applies if they believe it is necessary to prevent death or serious bodily harm, FOX35 report.
“Anytime we think or perceive or believe it could happen, we cannot make an arrest. The law specifically states that, and what we have to rule out is whether the lethal force is justified before we can make an arrest,” the sheriff stated.
Texas, Georgia, Missouri, Pennsylvania, and Michigan also have laws that apply to each FOX35.
Meanwhile, the white woman in question has yet to be publicly identified, charged or arrested, according to authorities.
The Ocala County Sheriff’s Office said the investigation into the fatal shooting is still ongoing.