Yet another senseless shooting occurred last week in Ocala, Florida, where 35-year-old Ajike Owens, a black woman, lost her life by being shot through her neighbor’s door. Susan Lorincz, a 58-year-old white woman, shot and killed Owens in “self defense” leaving Owens four children to witness their mothers death. Owens had four children aged 3 to 12 playing outside between the complex Owens and Lorincz lived at. Allegedly Lorincz had a headache the night of the shooting, and she was annoyed that the kids were acting so “rowdy.”
Lorincz allegedly threw a rollerskate striking one of Owen’s young children. Lorincz also claims that during this altercation, one of Owen’s children threatened to kill her in the past which made her “nervous” of what was transpiring that evening. Please note that even with the most up-to-date and recent reports, this is still an ongoing investigation with A LOT of discrepancies. Lorincz had placed no trespassing signs on grassy areas that were not actually her property to keep the kids off the grass, and that is where the children were playing.
Lorincz called 911 at approximately 8:54 pm, reporting the allegations of the children being rowdy and threatening. 911 operators just ten minutes later received calls from neighbors, Lorincz herself and Owen’s son, who was right next to her as she was fatally shot to death reporting the shooting. It is suspicious that Lorincz’s door was never opened. It was not broken into or tampered with. And surprisingly, Owen’s felt no safety or security knowing that police were literally on the way to assist her prior to pulling the trigger.
Lorincz claimed the “stand your ground law” that is so overused in Florida and that she felt so incredibly unsafe that she felt shooting Owens was her only option. I’m just not sure what ground she thought she was standing on. Knocking on someone’s door gives no reason for self-defense or justifies shooting your firearm through the door at an unarmed mother and child.
It is also reported that Lorincz herself admitted to calling Owens and, specifically, her children racial slurs. She admits to calling them the N-word, amongst other vile, deprecating words. Neighbors corroborated these claims and shared that they even heard her screaming racial slurs at the Owens family. At this time, it has not been reported if there was any other type of feud between the two parties other than children playing where they freely could and a racist woman.
There was a Delay in the arrest of Lorincz, as there often is in these cases, which caused outrage (as it should). The community came together to fight for justice for Owen and her children and demanded justice. People were calling the Marion Country Sheriff’s Department, emailing, and people flocked to social media to compel the authorities to do the right thing and arrest Lorincz. Marion County Sheriff Billy Woods responded by arresting Lorincz.
Sheriff Woods is a prime example of what should happen in such situations. Often, we see authorities double down and even create a backlash to the community’s upset and outrage. Woods was quoted as saying, “You’ve sent me emails, and you’ve been texting me encouraging the arrest because it shows you care about a fellow human being.” Woods thanked everyone who implored him to arrest Lorincz.
Click Orlando also got a quote from Woods where he explained his response to the “stand your ground” narrative; “If she gets any attorneys, I don’t care what that attorney says, I don’t care what that attorney presents to the court, for my detectives and me, this was an unjustified shooting clear,”
Lorincz has been charged with Manslaughter with a firearm, culpable negligence, battery and two counts of assault.
Florida Stand Your Ground Law
Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” law has been at the center of several high-profile cases since its introduction in 2005, provoking intense debate among legal experts, social justice advocates, and ordinary citizens alike.
It is essential to understand what the law involves. Under traditional self-defense laws, individuals who feel threatened in a public place are generally required to attempt to retreat before resorting to deadly force, hence the term “duty to retreat.” The “Stand Your Ground” law, however, eliminates this duty. In Florida, if a person reasonably believes that deadly force is necessary to prevent imminent death, serious bodily harm, or the commission of a forcible felony, they have the right to defend themselves without the obligation to retreat.
The law is premised on the principle that everyone has an inalienable right to feel safe and protected. Its architects argue that potential victims should not be burdened with whether to flee or defend themselves in the face of danger. Despite its apparent appeal, the law is deeply controversial and has elicited serious concerns.
The first issue lies in the interpretation of “reasonable belief.” Who gets to determine what constitutes a reasonable fear of imminent peril? This vagueness opens Pandora’s box of interpretation and discretion, often leaving juries to make difficult judgment calls. The problem arises when implicit biases creep into these determinations, leading to disproportionate application and protection under the law.
Research from the American Bar Association has shown that racial disparities exist in applying the “Stand Your Ground” law in Florida. The law has been used successfully as a defense in court more frequently when the person killed was Black rather than White. These racial disparities point to a systemic issue in applying the law and expose the inherent risk of relying on a subjective interpretation of “reasonable belief.”
The second significant issue arises from the law’s potential to escalate conflicts unnecessarily. Instead of encouraging de-escalation and withdrawal, the “Stand Your Ground” law allows individuals to meet force with force. Critics argue it could encourage a “shoot first, ask questions later” mentality, turning minor altercations into deadly encounters.
Additionally, the law can provide dangerous legal cover for individuals looking for confrontations, enabling them to initiate a conflict and then claim self-defense. This risk was famously demonstrated in the Trayvon Martin case, where a neighborhood watch volunteer pursued and fatally shot an unarmed teenager yet was acquitted based on the “Stand Your Ground” defense.
Thirdly, the implementation of the law presents practical problems for law enforcement. In Florida, individuals claiming self-defense under the law are granted immunity from criminal prosecution and civil action. This provision can make it challenging for police and prosecutors to hold shooters accountable, as they must provide clear evidence that the use of force was not justifiable.
Finally, the “Stand Your Ground” law creates a slippery slope of vigilantism. Instead of reinforcing the importance of law enforcement agencies as the primary protectors of public safety, it empowers citizens to take matters into their own hands. The potential danger here is the emergence of a society where fear and aggression overshadow dialogue and mutual understanding.
Despite these issues, it is crucial to acknowledge that the law is rooted in the fundamental right to self-defense. The challenge lies in balancing this right with the equally important principles of fairness, justice, and public safety. The Florida “Stand Your Ground” law is thus a mirror reflecting broader societal issues: racial biases, gun control, and the role of law enforcement.
The controversy surrounding this law reveals the complexity of legislating self-defense and the pressing need to find a solution that protects individual rights without compromising societal security or exacerbating racial disparities.
Moreover, it must be remembered that the “Stand Your Ground” law is just one piece of a broader legal and societal puzzle. The law doesn’t exist in a vacuum—it intersects with and is influenced by other laws, norms, and social attitudes. For instance, the law takes on an even more problematic dimension in a country grappling with gun control issues and high firearm ownership. When citizens are armed and legally permitted to use deadly force without a duty to retreat, the potential for fatal conflicts escalates.
It is essential to recognize that the problems seen with the “Stand Your Ground” law are not purely theoretical. Real lives have been lost, and families have been irreparably damaged. The narratives of Trayvon Martin, Markeis McGlockton, and now Owens serve as painful reminders of this law’s tragic, human cost. These incidents highlight the urgent need for reform and the importance of considering the human impact when crafting laws.
Where is Lorincz Now?
Well, it all sounded like justice is on its way to being served. Woods appropriately responded to the public outrage and arrested Lorincz. Last Friday, a judge issued a$154,000 bond for Lorincz that she is only required to pay $1,700 to post bond. Remember that Lorincz was charged with manslaughter and not murder, which means her charges are not “life sentences,” and therefore, she is constitutionally eligible for the bond.
As of now, she has not been bonded out, and we will continue to keep you updated on the case. Lorincz is due for another court hearing on July 11th, 2023. It is important to remember that although justice will hopefully be granted to Owen’s family that there is no justice in death. Owen’s mother, Pamela Dias, claimed she now has to care for her four grandchildren and said she needs to “be strong” for them.