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Sheriff: White Florida woman claims Black neighbor she shot and killed threatened her first

This image taken from video provided by the Marion County Sheriff’s Office shows Susan Lorincz, center, after her arrest in Ocala, Fla., Tuesday, June 6, 2023. Lorincz is accused of fatally shooting her neighbor, Ajike Owens, a Black mother of four. (Marion County Sheriff’s Office via AP)
This image taken from video provided by the Marion County Sheriff’s Office shows Susan Lorincz, center, after her arrest in Ocala, Fla., Tuesday, June 6, 2023. Lorincz is accused of fatally shooting her neighbor, Ajike Owens, a Black mother of four. (Marion County Sheriff’s Office via AP)

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — A white Florida woman accused of shooting and killing her Black neighbor told investigators she had been threatened by the victim in the months before the slaying, according an arrest report released Thursday.

The report from the Marion County Sheriff's Office came out as Susan Louise Lorincz made her initial appearance in court Thursday. She appeared via video hookup wearing a dark protective vest. It was not immediately clear if she had a lawyer to represent her.

In a statement to investigators after the shooting of Ajike Owens, a 35-year-old Black mother of four, Lorincz was quoted as saying she had problems for two years with children in the neighborhood not respecting her — including the victim's children, who range in age from 3 to 12 years old.

“Lorincz advised that the children of (Owens) have told her in the past they would kill her,” the report says.

The day of the shooting, Lorincz told investigators she had a headache and that “neighbors were outside screaming and yelling, kids were running around” in a grassy area separating two apartment quadruplex buildings, including hers. She said Owens angrily confronted her and threatened to kill her.

Lorincz claimed “that Owens banged on the door so hard everything started shaking and she thought the door was going to come off,” and that she panicked and said to herself “'Oh my god she’s really going to kill me this time.'” That's when she fired a single round from her .380-caliber handgun, the report says, noting that Lorincz also had a second handgun in the home.

“Lorincz advised that she purchased the firearm for protection after an altercation with the victim,” it says.

Lorincz, 58 is charged with manslaughter with a firearm, culpable negligence, battery and two counts of assault in the Owens killing, Sheriff Billy Woods said in a statement. Authorities came under pressure Tuesday to arrest and charge Lorincz, who fired the gun and killed Owens in a case that has put Florida’s divisive stand your ground law back into the spotlight.

During a news conference Wednesday afternoon, the victim's family, friends and community leaders joined civil rights attorney Ben Crump in thanking the sheriff for making the arrest, while calling for justice for Owens.

“This is not a difficult case,” Crump said. He called on the state attorney's office to “zealously prosecute” the shooter.

Crump, along with Owens's mother and multiple neighbors noted during the news conference that the “feud" the sheriff spoke of was between Lorincz and neighborhood children, who often played in a lot outside her home. Neighbors said Lorincz frequently called the children vile names and antagonized them.

One child told deputies that the night of the shooting, Lorincz “came out of her house and gave the children the middle finger” and also said this: “Get away from my house, you Black slave," according to the report.

Woods said the investigation, which included eyewitness statements, established that Lorincz’s actions were not justifiable as self-defense under Florida law. Her arrest was delayed several days while authorities looked into a possible “stand your ground” claim.

The sheriff has said that since January 2021, deputies responded to at least a half-dozen calls in connection with what police described as feuding between Owens and Lorincz.

Owens' mother, Pamela Dias, has said she will now raise her four young grandchildren.

The Associated Press is a wire service to which WUFT News subscribes.