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Owens via Ben Crump
Ajike Owens, a Black Florida mother of 4 was fatally shot by her white neighbor and now authorities are trying to decide if the killing was self-defense.
The death of 34-year-old Owens was the result of an apparent “neighborhood feud” over the victim’s children playing in the shooter’s yard. As People reports, Marion County Sheriff Billy Woods said in a news conference on Monday that the shooter previously called authorities complaining about the children.
On the day of the killing, officers responded to a trespassing call. “Upon arrival, they found a victim suffering from a gunshot wound and immediately rendered aid until medics could arrive, but unfortunately, Miss Owens passed,” Woods said.
According to the sheriff, Owens and the shooter, whose name is being withheld, were at odds for years and often called the police on each other.
“I wish the shooter would’ve called us instead of taking actions into her own hands,” Woods stated. “I wish Mrs. Owens would’ve called us and it never got to the point that we are in today.”
“The dispute between the children is what led us up to a confrontation at the door,” he added.
According to police, Owens walked over to the shooter’s home to confront her about throwing an object at her kids. Apparently, heated words were exchanged before the neighbor shot Owens through her front door.
“Was something thrown at them? Yes, but not directly at them of what we’re being told now,” the sheriff said. “It’s just unfortunate that it may have hit them.”
Attorney Ben Crump, who represents Owen’s family, told NBC News that the neighbor allegedly “began yelling at them to get off her land and calling them racial slurs.”
According to the sheriff, at least two of the children may have witnessed the killing of their mother.
As PEOPLE reports Woods said the kids “are a big part of answering a lot of our questions.”