On June 2, officers responded to a trespassing call and found one woman, later identified as 35-year-old Ajike “AJ” Owens, suffering from a gunshot wound, Marion County Sheriff Billy Woods said in a news conference, KEYT reported.
The shooter, identified as a 58-year-old white woman, “engaged” with Owens’ children and threw a pair of skates, hitting the children, officials said. According to a witness, there was a fight over a child’s electronic tablet device prior to the shooter throwing the skates at the children.
After that incident took place, one of the kids went back inside their home and told their mother, who then went to the neighbor’s home “to confront the lady,” authorities said.
The shooter talked with police, saying there was “a lot of aggressiveness” from both sides, as well as threats being made before Owens was ultimately shot through the door, KEYT reported. Witnesses said Owens went to the shooter’s home and knocked on the door before she was shot.
Owens was transported to a local hospital and was later pronounced dead, officials said.
The shooter has been cooperating with law enforcement during the investigation and no arrests have been made in the case, according to authorities.
In a separate news conference held by Owens’ family attorneys, Owens’ mother, Pamela Dias, stated the shooter has called the family, including the children, racial slurs, KEYT reported.
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Dias went on to say the neighbor’s door “never opened” and her daughter was shot through the door, according to KEYT.
She added, “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.”
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Ben Crump, one of the attorneys representing the family, said it is “appalling” no arrest has been made, adding “it is asinine when they try to justify this unjustifiable killing of this mother of four who was killed in front of her children.”
The sheriff’s office pleaded for calm and patience while they investigated the shooting. They are working to recover possible video footage and interview the children who witnessed the incident.
Authorities said they have received reports from the two neighbors dating back to January 2021, which included calls from the shooter complaining about Owens’ children. Woods said it was “children being children” and we need to “pray for those children.”
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