Birmingham, shootings

Community Mourns Black Mother Shot While Standing Up For Her Children Against White Neighbor

A Florida community is calling for swift justice after a 35-year-old Black mother of four was shot and killed by her white neighbor.

Ajike Owens wanted to know why her 58-year-old neighbor allegedly threw an item and hit one of her young children. The children were outside playing at the time. When the concerned mother approached her neighbor’s home in Ocala, Florida, a gunshot was fired through the front door. “She knocked on the door, and at that point, the woman allegedly shot through the door, hitting AJ, who later died from her injuries,” attorney Ben Crump said, as reported by NBC News. The identity of the white woman has not been revealed to the public.

No arrest has been made. Marion County, Florida, Sheriff Billy Woods said, “We know who did the shooting,” but says the Florida Stand Your Ground Law prohibits an arrest. Woods said at a press conference Monday, “Any time that we think or perceive or believe that [the “stand your ground” law] might come into play, we cannot make an arrest. The law specifically says that.” The sheriff added that they have to “rule out” whether the deadly force was justified.

The Owens family’s attorney, Anthony D. Thomas, said, “We need an arrest,” NBC News reported.

According to CNN, Crump told MSNBC, “It is asinine when they try to justify this unjustifiable killing of this mother of four who was killed in front of her children. It is heartbreaking on every level.” He called the incident an “unjustified killing.”

Police have not yet spoken to the victim’s children. Woods shared that the alleged shooter provided most of the information about the events that transpired.

At a news conference, Owens, 35, was described as “the protector of her children” by her mother, Pamela Dias. She said, “My daughter, my grandchildren’s mother, was shot and killed with her 9-year-old son standing next to her. She had no weapon. She posed no imminent threat to anyone.” Dias also said the white woman called the children “racial slurs.”

The grandmother created a GoFundMe to “support funeral and memorial expenses” and to “contribute to AJ’s children’s education expenses.” As of June 6, 2023, the family has received over $50,000 in donations.