OCALA, Fla. (TCD) — Law enforcement officials are revealing more details about a shooting over the weekend that left one woman dead following an alleged contentious feud between neighbors.
On the night of Friday, June 2, Marion County Sheriff’s Office deputies went to the 1600 block of SW 108th Lane in Ocala regarding a shooting call and found an adult female suffering a gunshot wound. Deputies rendered lifesaving aid until medics arrived on scene and transported the victim to the hospital, where she was pronounced dead.
The victim was later identified as Ajike “AJ” Owens.
In a press conference Monday, June 5, Marion County Sheriff Billy Woods said the investigation into the shooting remains ongoing and that he and his deputies are looking into whether the suspected shooter fired her gun under the state’s Stand Your Ground law. Woods said, “That law has specific instructions. Any time we believe or perceive that might come into play, we cannot make an arrest. What we have to rule out is whether deadly force was justified before we can even make an arrest.”
Owens, who is Black, and the neighbor, who was not identified, reportedly have a history of a “neighborhood feud” which resulted in 911 being called “six to eight times.”
According to Woods, an argument ensued over “children being children” and playing on the neighbor’s property.
The disagreement between the two neighbors allegedly started in 2021, and Woods said there was “a lot of aggressiveness from both of them.”
In a statement by attorney Ben Crump, who is representing Owens’ family, the children were playing in a field near the apartment complex when the neighbor, who is white, allegedly “began yelling at them to get off her land and calling them racial slurs.”
Crump said the kids “accidentally left an iPad behind, which the woman took.”
One of the children reportedly tried to get it back, but the neighbor reportedly threw it, hit the boy, and cracked the screen. Owens went to speak with the neighbor, who allegedly shot Owens through the door.
The neighbor has not been publicly identified or charged with any crime yet.
Woods said at the press conference one of the children had also been hit with a pair of skates.
He noted, “I wish our shooter would have called us instead of taking action into her own hands. I wish Mrs. Owens would have called in the hopes we could’ve never gotten to the point at which we are here today.”