ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) — A white Florida woman accused of shooting and killing her Black neighbor told investigators she had been threatened by the victim in the months before the slaying, according an arrest report released Thursday that detailed allegations of racist threats and physical threats to the victim’s young children.
The report from the Marion County Sheriff’s Office came out shortly before Susan Louise Lorincz made her initial appearance in court Thursday by video on manslaughter and other charges.
Lorincz appeared wearing a dark protective vest, answered the judge’s questions about her finances but did not enter a plea. A public defender was appointed to represent her at an upcoming bond hearing.
In a statement to investigators after the shooting of Ajike Owens, a 35-year-old Black mother of four, Lorincz was quoted as saying she had problems for two years with children in the neighborhood not respecting her — including the victim’s children, who range in age from 3 to 12 years old.
“Lorincz advised that the children of (Owens) have told her in the past they would kill her,” the report says.
The day of the shooting, Lorincz told investigators she had a headache and that “neighbors were outside screaming and yelling, kids were running around” in a grassy area separating two apartment quadruplex buildings, including hers. She said Owens angrily confronted her and threatened to kill her.
According to the sheriff’s timeline, Lorincz called the department at 8:54 p.m. the night of the shooting to say kids were threatening her and trespassing. She had previously placed “no trespassing” signs in the grassy areas, despite it not being a part of her rental. Lorincz said in court she owns no property at all.
While deputies were on their way, more calls came in to 911 about shots heard in the same area. At 9:04 p.m., one of Owens’ children called 911 to say his mother had been shot, according to the timeline. Lorincz also called again, saying she had shot a woman through her door. Deputies arrived about three minutes later to find Owens lying on the ground. She was pronounced dead at a hospital a half hour later.
Lorincz claimed “that Owens banged on the door so hard everything started shaking and she thought the door was going to come off,” and that she panicked and said to herself “’Oh my god she’s really going to kill me this time.’” That’s when she fired a single round from her .380-caliber handgun, the report says, noting that Lorincz also had a second handgun in the home.
“Lorincz advised that she purchased the firearm for protection after an altercation with the victim,” it says.
Lorincz, 58 is charged with manslaughter with a firearm, culpable negligence, battery and two counts of assault Sheriff Billy Woods said in a statement.
During a news conference Wednesday afternoon, the victim’s family, friends and community leaders joined civil rights attorney Ben Crump in thanking the sheriff for making the arrest, while calling for justice for Owens.
“This is not a difficult case,” Crump said. He called on the state attorney’s office to “zealously prosecute” the shooter.
Crump, along with Owens’s mother and multiple neighbors noted during the news conference that the “feud” the sheriff spoke of was between Lorincz and neighborhood children. Neighbors said Lorincz frequently called the children vile names when they played in the grassy area outside her home.
One child told deputies that the night of the shooting, Lorincz “came out of her house and gave the children the middle finger” and also said this: “Get away from my house, you Black slave,” according to the report.
Authorities had delayed her arrest for several days while looking into a possible “ stand your ground ” claim.
The sheriff has said that since January 2021, deputies responded to at least a half-dozen complaints between Owens and Lorincz.
Owens’ mother, Pamela Dias, has said she will now raise her four young grandchildren. The funeral for Owens is set for Monday in Ocala.
Associated Press writer Freida Frisaro contributed from Fort Lauderdale.