Ajike “AJ” Owens. Photo provided by NNPA Newswire

The details surrounding her death have sparked protests and raised concerns about racial tensions in the community.

By Stacy M. Brown
NNPA Newswire Senior National Correspondent
@StacyBrownMedia

In a tragic incident that has ignited outrage and calls for justice, Ajike “AJ” Owens, a 35-year-old Black mother of four, was fatally shot by a white neighbor at a housing complex in Ocala, Florida. Civil rights attorney Ben Crump has denounced the killing as an “unjust” act, highlighting the absence of an arrest or charges against the shooter.

According to Crump’s Twitter post on Monday, the deadly incident occurred on Friday, June 2, when Owens attempted to retrieve an iPad taken from one of her children.

The details surrounding her death have sparked protests and raised concerns about racial tensions in the community.

During a press conference, Marion County Sheriff Billy Woods provided a more cautious assessment, indicating that the shooting culminated in an ongoing feud between the neighbors.

Woods revealed that law enforcement visited the address approximately six to eight times over the past two and a half years.

While he refrained from confirming whether Owens was trying to recover the stolen iPad at the time of the shooting, Woods mentioned that the shooter had thrown a pair of skates toward Owens’ children before the fatal confrontation.

Expressing frustration, Woods stated, “If somebody threw something at my child, I’d be pissed off. What parent wouldn’t be? Who wouldn’t be upset, regardless of whether they intentionally threw it at them?”

He also emphasized that he wished the shooter had contacted law enforcement instead of resorting to personal actions.

Woods further expressed regret that Owens did not reach out to the authorities.

The sheriff did not disclose the shooter’s identity, age, or race, but he did mention that she was cooperating with the investigation.

He urged the community to exercise patience as the inquiry progressed, revealing that authorities haven’t concluded interviews with all those who witnessed the incident.

“We’re not cold-hearted bastards. We’re not going to interview children the night they possibly witnessed their mother being killed. We’re going to wait,” Woods asserted.

He emphasized that his office was committed to bringing justice to the family and friends affected, seeking the support of professionals and expert counselors in handling the emotional impact on the children involved.

According to accounts from neighbors who spoke with the Ocala Star-Banner newspaper in Florida, the incident occurred as several children were playing on the grass in front of a duplex building at the housing complex.

Witnesses reported that a female resident emerged from one of the units, threw something at the children, grabbed an iPad, and swiftly retreated inside.

One of the children informed Owens of the incident, which prompted her to approach the woman’s door.

The confrontation escalated with intense aggression from both parties, involving banging on doors and walls and threats.

Tragically, the unidentified woman shot Owens through the door.

Woods affirmed that once the investigation concludes, authorities would present their findings to the Marion County State Attorney’s Office, which will then determine if charges are warranted.

The incident adds to a series of recent similar shootings.

In April, a woman was fatally shot in New York after a man objected to a car entering his driveway.

In another incident in Texas, two cheerleaders were shot, with one sustaining critical injury, when they mistakenly approached the wrong car after an event.

Also, Ralph Yarl, a 16-year-old Black teen, was shot and wounded in Kansas City after knocking on the wrong door after his parents sent him to pick up his siblings.

Charges were filed against the shooters in all three incidents.

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