A Florida woman, Susan Louise Lorincz, was arrested by the Marion County Sheriff's Office on Tuesday after allegedly fatally shooting her neighbor, Ajike Owens, in what authorities described as the culmination of a 2½-year feud.
The incident has drawn attention to Florida's stand your ground law, as pressure mounted on authorities to arrest and charge the White woman who fired the fatal shot.
The 58-year-old Lorincz was taken into custody and charged with manslaughter with a firearm, culpable negligence, battery, and two counts of assault, according to Sheriff Billy Woods. The altercation between Lorincz, who is White, and Owens, who is Black, resulted in Owens' death.
The 35-year-old Owens was a mother of four children.
You can see footage of Lorincz's arrest in the video below.
Lorincz claimed that she acted in self-defense, asserting that Owens had attempted to break down her door prior to the shooting. Lorincz also alleged that Owens had previously attacked her and posed a threat.
However, investigators, based on eyewitness statements and their own examination, concluded that Lorincz's actions were not justifiable under Florida law.
In response to the incident, approximately three dozen protesters, predominantly Black, gathered outside the Marion County Judicial Center, demanding the arrest of the shooter. State Attorney William Gladson, who met with the protesters, emphasized the importance of a thorough investigation and urged patience before making any charging decisions.
Community members and activists voiced their concerns over racial injustice and called for justice during the ongoing investigation. The protesters carried signs, chanted slogans, and emphasized the need for systemic change to address the underlying issues.
News of the shooting quickly went viral and many have condemned Lorincz's actions.
While Sheriff Woods initially indicated that the case would be evaluated in the context of the stand your ground law, he later clarified that this particular incident was not a stand your ground case but rather a "simply a killing."
Angela Ferrell-Zabala, executive director of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, told The Associated Press she was "absolutely heartbroken" to learn of the shooting.
She further pointed out cases involving stand your ground laws, which she often refers to as "shoot first laws," are deemed justifiable in instances where a White shooter kills a Black victim five times more frequently.
In 2017, Florida legislators modified the state's self-defense statute, transferring the burden of proof from individuals claiming self-defense to prosecutors. This means that authorities must eliminate the possibility of self-defense before pursuing charges.
Previously, prosecutors had the ability to charge someone involved in a shooting, and the onus was on the defense attorneys to present an affirmative defense explaining why their client should not be convicted.