The fatal shooting of Ajike “AJ” Owens unfolded on Friday (June 2) after one of her children accidentally left their iPad in a field they were playing in near an apartment complex in Ocala, according to civil rights attorney Ben Crump, who is representing the family.
Crump said a white neighbor, who hasn't been identified, called the children racial slurs and yelled at the children to "get off her land." The woman took the tablet that was left behind by Owen's child, according to Crump.
When the child went back to retrieve his iPad, Crump said the woman threw the device, which hit the boy and cracked the screen. Owens went to the neighbor's door after her child told her what happened.
“She knocked on the door, and at that point, the woman allegedly shot through the door, hitting AJ, who later died from her injuries,” Crump said.
Following the shooting, Owens was taken to the hospital where she was pronounced dead.
Marion County Sheriff Billy Woods addressed the shooting during a press conference on Monday (June 5), but he didn't confirm or deny Crump's complete account of how the incident unfolded.
"[I'm not] “going to stand here and tell you what they’re putting out there is inaccurate. It’s just I don’t know yet,” Woods said.
He did confirm that an object was thrown at the children.
“Was something thrown at them? Yes, but not directly at them of what we’re being told now,” Woods said. “It just unfortunately may have hit them.”
A heated exchange occurred between Owens and the neighbor before the mother was shot through the door, according to the sheriff. At least two of Owens' four children witnessed the shooting.
Woods also noted that there was a longstanding "neighborhood feud" between Owens and the neighbor.
“I wish our shooter would have called us instead of taking actions into her own hands,” he said, adding that investigators are trying to determine if Florida's stand-your-ground law will apply to this shooting. “That law has specific instructions for us and law enforcement, and anytime that we think or perceive or believe that ... might come into play, we cannot make an arrest.
“The law specifically says that and what we have to rule out is whether the deadly force was justified or not before we can even make the arrest," Woods added.
Crump is calling for the neighbor to be arrested and charged in the "unjust killing" of Owens.