A Black mother-of-four lost her life after being gunned down by a still-unidentified white woman on Friday (June 2) following an altercation in Florida.
Now, the family of Ajike “AJ” Owens, civil rights attorney Ben Crump, and the president of the NAACP chapter in Marion County are calling for the woman to be arrested, according to WESH. However, the state’s “stand-your-ground” law could complicate their quest for justice.
Black Mother-Of-Four, Shot To Death By Unidentified White Woman, Police And Family Say
Lawyers for the Owens family claim the young, single mother was playing in a field in Marion County with her four children, all under 12.
“She loved them with all her being. To know her is to know that her kids were her everything,” said Owens’ mother, Pamela Dias. “My baby was so full of life. She was a single mother of four.”
Investigators say Owens was in an ongoing feud with the shooter, a white woman, who had allegedly accused her children of trespassing in the area in the past, the outlet reports.
“Harassed the children in the neighborhood,” Dias added. “Harassed Ajike Shantrelle Owens’ four babies. She called them racial slurs: the N-word, slaves.”
Ajike Owens’ children were playing in a field near an apartment complex when a white woman yelled racial slurs at them and said to get off her land.
The children left behind an iPad which she stole. When one of the children came back to retrieve it she threw it at him and hit… pic.twitter.com/ckVMnSrP34
— chris evans (@notcapnamerica) June 5, 2023
The Shooting: Broken iPad, Trespassing Accusations At Center Of Deadly Confrontation
On the day of the shooting, the unnamed woman approached the family before allegedly calling them racial slurs. Owens reportedly gathered her kids and left the scene.
However, one of Owen’s children realized they had left an iPad in the field, which the still-unidentified woman retrieved. When Owens’ children asked for their iPad back, WESH reports the woman threw it on the ground and broke the screen.
Meanwhile, NBC News reports that the woman threw the iPad at the child, “unintentionally” hitting the boy and cracking the screen. Attorney Crump confirmed this series of events in a public statement about the case.
The report by WESH claims the woman actually threw a pair of skates that hit the child.
MEDIA ALERT: @AttorneyCrump, attorney Anthony D. Thomas, and the family of AJ Owens — a mother who was shot after knocking on an unidentified woman’s door — will hold a news conference today (6/5) to demand that the shooter be arrested for this unjustified killing. pic.twitter.com/BfmTundS4p
— Ben Crump Law, PLLC (@BenCrumpLaw) June 5, 2023
Owens reportedly reacted by approaching the woman’s door to speak about the exchange, but instead of talking, the woman shot the mother through a closed door.
Her mother, Pamela Dias, told the outlet that Ajike had no weapons and didn’t post an “imminent threat to anyone.” Despite this, Dias says her daughter was shot with her nine-year-old son beside her.
“My daughter, my grandchildren’s mother, was shot and killed with her nine-year-old son standing next to her. She had no weapon. She posed no imminent threat to anyone,” Dias told WESH.
We have been retained by the family of Ajike “AJ” Owens. We will continue to stand alongside her relatives 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 On Responding To Disputes Between Women In The Past, “Stand-Your-Ground” Law
Meanwhile, Marion County Sheriff Billy Woods tells the outlet that law enforcement was no stranger to the situation. Officers had reportedly been called to settle disputes between the women before.
Sheriff Woods described the incident as a “neighborhood feud” that escalated over time.
“We know that this has basically been a neighborhood feud over time,” Sheriff Woods told the outlet. “I’ve got reports that these things, they’ve called, one side or the other. Either the mother, Ms. Owens, has called, or the shooter has called complaining about the children.”
Woods added that arresting in the case could prove difficult if not for one thing–the state’s controversial “stand-your-ground” law.
“Because we want to seek justice and we want to assure that we get the facts right, especially in a case to this level, we just don’t take always one side,” Sheriff Woods said. “‘Cause it doesn’t always paint the full picture.”
35-year old Ajike “AJ” Owens was murdered in FL by a 58-year old white neighbor because her kids were playing in the yard. Four little kids no longer have a mother and, stop me if you’ve heard this one before, so far the shooter has not been arrested because of stand your ground. pic.twitter.com/NtQ8j6v5pQ
— Warren (@swd2) June 6, 2023
A Brief Breakdown Of The Controversial “Stand-Your-Ground” Law: Where It’s Found, What It Protects
The law states that a person does have the right to meet force with deadly force. But, it only applies if they believe it’s necessary to prevent death or great bodily harm, FOX 35 reports.
“Any time that we think or perceive or believe that that might come into play, we cannot make an arrest. The law specifically says that, and what we have to rule out is whether the deadly force was justified or not before we can even make the arrest,” the sheriff stated.
Texas, Georgia, Missouri, Pennsylvania, and Michigan also have stand-your-ground laws, per FOX 35.
Meanwhile, the white woman in question has yet to be publicly identified, charged, or arrested, according to authorities.
The Ocala County Sheriff’s Office says an investigation into the fatal shooting remains ongoing.