The family of Ajike “AJ” Owens is demanding action after the Black mother of four was shot and killed by a neighbor amid a feud.
The shooting occurred on the night of June 2. According to Marion County, Florida, Sheriff Billy Woods, deputies responded to a trespassing call Friday night. While responding to the call they found Owens suffering from a gunshot wound.
An incident report detailed that the shooter, who is also a woman, threw a pair of skates at Owens’ children and hit the kids. The report added that the woman “engaged” with Owens.
According to a witness, an earlier dispute over a child’s electronic tablet led to the skates being thrown at the kids. When Owens children informed her of the interaction over the tablet, the sheriff said Owens then went “to confront the lady.”An incident report details that Owens went to the home of the shooter and knocked on the door before she was shot through the door by the shooter.
Owens, who was 35 years old, was later pronounced dead at a hospital, authorities said.
Owens mother, Pamela Dias, detailed in an additional news conference that the woman who shot Owens has called her daughter and her children racial slurs.
“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 said. “What I’m asking is for justice. Justice for my daughter.”
No arrest has been made in the case and the woman who shot Owens has been cooperating with law enforcement officials.
The shooter remains unnamed. But in a statement on Monday, attorney Ben Crump, who is one of the attorneys representing the family, has identified her as a white woman. The shooter was also described as a 58-year-old white woman in the incident report.
In a news conference Monday, authorities referenced the state’s controversial “stand your ground” law while also stressing they were taking all steps to investigate the shooting. This includes uncovering any video footage from the incident and investigating Owens’ children.
“What a lot of people don’t understand is that law has specific instructions for us in law enforcement,” the sheriff said. “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.”
The sheriff added that his department has to rule out whether the deadly force was justified or not before they can even make an arrest.
Wood also asked that people pray for the family of Owens and said his office “is going to do everything to bring justice.”
A verified GoFundMe page has been set up to support Owens’ family.