Ajike 'AJ' Owens funeral: Family, leaders call for change after Florida mom allegedly shot, killed by neighbor

Family, friends, and national civil rights leaders gathered Monday for the funeral of Ajike "AJ" Owens, a Florida mother who was shot and killed after she confronted one of her neighbors.

Pamela Dias, Owens' mother, told the congregation to not let her daughter's death be in vain and that "a change must come." She thanked family, friends, and attorneys – her "village," she said – for supporting her and her grandchildren in the days after Owens' death.

Addressing her daughter's casket, she said: "I love you. I miss you."

"We’re here because of violence," Civil Rights Activist Reverend Al Sharpton said. He delivered the eulogy, a special request by Dias and Owen's family. He reminded the crowd the fight for social justice is not over. 

Perhaps, the most impacted by this tragedy are AJ’s children. The four will never forget the sacrifices their mother made for them, even up until her last breath.

During his 30-minute speech, he memorialized Owens as a mom who "chose to stand in danger's way for you (her children)."

"Your mama chose to stand in danger's way for you. She chose you over her. That's what mothers do. That's why we celebrate your mother," he said, speaking directly to her four children.

In an effort to make sure the kids are taken care of in their mother’s absence, all historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) in the state of Florida announced they would provide full scholarships for all four children once they finish high school.

The Marion County Sheriff's Office said Owens went to her neighbor's house on June 2 to confront her about allegedly yelling at her children and throwing a rollerblade at one of them because she was upset about where they were playing.

That neighbor, identified as Susan Lorincz, then fired a gun from her kitchen into the front door, deputies said, which struck Owens in the chest. Owens was taken to the hospital where she died.

Lorincz claimed the shooting was self-defense. However, Sheriff Billy Woods said it was not a justified shooting. Lorincz was booked into jail on counts of manslaughter with a firearm, among other alleged charges.

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(Photo via funeral order of service of Ajike Owens)

During a press conference, the family's attorney Ben Crump criticized Marion County deputies for taking several days to arrest Lorincz. 

Deputies said they had to take the time to make sure this wasn't a stand-your-ground situation before making the arrest. The controversial law, since 2005 has sparked nationwide debates because law enforcement cannot immediately arrest someone in Florida until they have ruled out self-defense. 

Who was Ajike "AJ" Owens?

Ajike Owens was a single mom and a mother of four: three boys and a girl. According to friends and family, she absolutely loved her kids and would anything for them. 

During a news conference earlier this week, best friend Kimberly Robinson-Jones opened up about Owens' character. 

"When you met Ajike, her smile would light up the room," she said, adding that Owens adored her children. "She made sacrifices as a single mom to be there for them in each and every stage of their lives."

Dias, said her daughter was not armed and was not a threat to anyone.

"My daughter, my grand-children's mother was shot and killed with her 9-year-old son standing next to her. She had no weapon. She posted no imminent threat to anyone," she told reporters at a press conference.

"When we say it takes a village, it was a village that raised my baby girl, and I am grateful to each and every one. It is now going to take a village to raise these children," she said. 

The shooting: What happened

Shortly before 9 p.m., Owens went over to Lorincz's house to confront her about allegations that she threw a rollerblade skate at one of her kids earlier in the day. Lorincz also allegedly took one of Owen's son's iPad that same day. 


Lorincz called 911 shortly before 9 p.m. alleging that she was fearing for her life because juveniles were outside her door and said they were going to "come and kill her," a 911 call revealed. 

A couple of minutes later, Lorincz called 911 stating that she had shot Owens through her front door because she was trying to break down her door, a separate 911 call revealed. 

Owen's child was standing next to her when she was shot by Lorincz. 

An arrest affidavit shows that Lorincz had been feuding with Owens and the neighborhood children who frequently played in a field near Lorincz's home. 

Several neighbors told investigators that Lorincz had a history of hurling racial slurs at the children as well as calling them the n-word, arrest records show. 

What we know about Susan Lorincz

The 58-year-old woman told deputies she bought two guns a year before the deadly confrontation with Owens for protection after the two had an altercation. Lorincz told deputies she used to be afraid of guns. 

Lorincz reportedly researched self-defense information on the internet the same day of her second interview with detectives and admitted to possibly searching stand-your-ground laws in the past. 

On Friday, a judge granted the Ocala woman a $154,000 bond where she can return to her home, but cannot have any contact with Owen's family or possess any firearms or weapons.