ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) — A white Florida woman charged with shooting and killing her Black neighbor told detectives that she called the victim’s children by racist slurs in the months leading up to the slaying, according to an arrest report released Thursday.
Susan Louise Lorincz, 58, admitted to detectives that she called the children “the n-word.” 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.
The report from the Marion County Sheriff’s Office came out shortly before Lorincz made her initial appearance in court Thursday by video. She has been charged with the first-degree felony of manslaughter with a firearm, as well as culpable negligence, battery and two counts of assault Sheriff Billy Woods said in a statement.
Lorincz appeared wearing a dark protective vest, answered the judge’s questions about her finances and her attorney, an assistant public defender appointed by the judge, entered a written plea of not guilty. A bond hearing will be scheduled in the coming days.
Ajike Owens, a 35-year-old Black mother of four, was killed this week in Ocala, about 83 miles (133 kilometers) north of Orlando. Owens’ mother, Pamela Dias, has said she will now raise her four young grandchildren.
Supporters of Owens’ family gathered Thursday evening for a vigil outside the Ocala church where the slain woman’s funeral is scheduled for Monday.
In a statement to investigators after the shooting, Lorincz was quoted 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 said.
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.
That night, while a few children were playing basketball, Lorincz came outside to throw a pair of roller skates at them, hitting one on the feet, according to the report. When Owens then knocked on her door, Lorinz claims that Owens threatened to kill her.
According to the sheriff’s timeline, Lorincz called the department at 8:54 p.m. on the night of the shooting to say kids were threatening her and trespassing. She had previously placed “No trespassing” signs in the grassy areas, despite those being shared areas and not part of her rental. Lorincz said in court she doesn’t own the property.
Many details about the case remain unclear, such as the owner of a red T-shirt that says, “She Slays This Means War” — which was found at the scene, according to the report.
While deputies were on their way, more calls came in to 911 about shots heard in the same area. At 9:04 p.m., one of Owens’ children called 911 to say his mother had been shot, according to the timeline. Lorincz also called again, saying she had shot a woman through her front door. Deputies arrived about three minutes later to find Owens lying on the ground. She was pronounced dead at a hospital a half hour later.
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 Lorincz 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.
During a news conference Wednesday afternoon, the victim’s family, friends and community leaders joined civil rights attorney Ben Crump — who became well-known representing Trayvon Martin’s family — in thanking the sheriff for making the arrest and 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. Neighbors said Lorincz frequently called the children vile names when they played in the grassy area outside her home.
Authorities had delayed her arrest for several days while looking into a possible “ stand your ground ” claim. Detectives have since said that Lorincz’s actions are not justifiable under Florida law.
The sheriff has said that since January 2021, deputies responded to at least a half-dozen complaints between Owens and Lorincz in Ocala.
Associated Press writer Freida Frisaro contributed from Fort Lauderdale.