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‘The Legal System Failed’: Rev. Al Sharpton Calls for ‘Federal Hate Crime’ Investigation After White Woman Who Fatally Shot Ajike Owens Not Charged with Murder

After learning that the woman who shot a Black mother of four in Florida won’t be charged with murder, Rev. Al Sharpton is calling for the U.S. Department of Justice to investigate Ajike Owens’ shooting death as a federal hate crime.

Although the evidence wasn’t sufficient enough to charge Susan Lorincz with murder, a state prosecutor did file a felony manslaughter charge against the 58-year-old woman, a move that “deeply disappointed” Owens’ family and prompted Sharpton’s call to the DOJ to intervene.

Susan Lorincz, 58, was arrested and charged in connection with the shooting death of 35-year-old Ajike Owens. Lorincz shot Owens after Owens came to her apartment to confront her about an argument Lorincz had with Owens’ children where Lorincz allegedly called them racial slurs. (Left photo: Marion County Sheriff’s Office. Right photo: Owens’ family photo)

Ajike Owens, a 35-year-old mother of four, was shot and killed earlier this month in Ocala, Florida after confronting her neighbor, Lorincz, for throwing a rollerskate at one of her kids and calling her children racial slurs as they were playing in a field beside her apartment.

The result of that confrontation ended with Owens’ death after Lorincz shot her through the door of her own apartment instead of answering Owens when she came to meet her. Owens’ 10-year-old son was standing right beside her when she was shot.

The family has demanded Lorincz be charged with second-degree murder, at least since her arrest, but Florida’s state attorney William Gladson only brought forth a first-degree manslaughter charge.

Gladson indicated that his reasoning for not upgrading the charge had to do with the lack of evidence to effectively demonstrate that Lorincz had a depraved mind. No matter how reckless or impulsive her actions were, proof of a depraved mind is a key factor in making a case for murder.

“Depraved mind requires evidence of hatred, spite, ill will or evil intent toward the victim at the time of the killing. Given the facts in this case, aiming a firearm at the door, and pulling the trigger is legally insufficient to prove depraved mind,” he said. “As deplorable as the defendant’s actions were in this case, there is insufficient evidence to prove this specific and required element of second-degree murder.”

Lorincz also faces one count of assault. If she’s convicted, she faces up to 30 years in prison.

To the family, their attorneys, and some civil rights advocates, neither charge is enough for the death of Owens.

“How do I explain to AJ’s children, my young grandbabies, that the loss of their mother’s life is still not being taken seriously?” said Owens’ mother, Pamela Dias, according to FOX 35 Orlando. “Only a living, breathing AJ would be true justice, and today’s charge could not be further from that.”

Lawyers for the family believe there is enough proof to back a second-degree murder charge but are still advocating for total accountability in the case.

“The failure of the prosecutor to charge Susan with what truly reflected her wanton, reckless behavior undermines our ability to even get real accountability,” said attorney Anthony Thomas. “Nevertheless, our resolve remains unwavering, and we will continue to fight.”

Sharpton plainly stated the absence of a murder charge is a failure of the legal system for Owens’ family, additionally citing Gladson’s decision as “outrageous.”

“The legal system failed AJ Owens and her family today by refusing to recognize that this brazen shooting was plain murder. It was an outrageous decision to not bring murder charges against a shooter who fired blindly through the door,” Sharpton said.

“The fact that this woman hurled insults including the N-word at her children and proclaimed, ‘this isn’t the underground railroad, slave,’ should be enough for the Justice Department to investigate this as a federal hate crime,” he continued.

It took Marion County deputies nearly a week to arrest Lorincz, who initially claimed she acted in self-defense. Police said the shooting was the result of several clashes between both neighbors that happened over a two-year period. Lorincz told investigators she never intended to hit Owens when she fired the gun.

Owens leaves behind four children, ages 12, 9, 7 and 3.

Lorincz’s next court hearing is scheduled for July 11. She’s still being held at the Marion County Jail after a judge filed a $154,000 bond for her release, pending trial.

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