"My daughter, my grandchildren's mother, was shot and killed with her 9-year-old son standing beside her," the victim's mother said.
Trigger warning: This article contains details of gun violence and racism which some readers may find distressing.
Florida authorities are currently investigating the tragic death of a 35-year-old mother, Ajike Owens, who was fatally shot on Friday night, June 2, following a dispute over children playing in the neighborhood. Marion County Sheriff Billy Woods addressed the media on Monday, June 5, revealing that Owens was discovered after law enforcement responded to a trespassing call. Unfortunately, despite immediate medical aid, Owens succumbed to her gunshot wound, reported PEOPLE.
Sheriff Woods confirmed that the case is still under investigation but shared that Owens and her alleged shooter, whose identity was not disclosed during the conference, had been engaged in an ongoing feud. The alleged shooter had previously contacted authorities to complain about the children involved in the dispute. Sheriff Woods revealed that there had been several incidents reported to law enforcement, dating back to January 16, 2021.
Expressing regret over the tragic outcome, Sheriff Woods stated, "I wish the shooter would've called us instead of taking actions into her own hands. I wish Mrs. Owens would've called us and it never got to the point that we are in today." He further explained that a confrontation occurred at the door, stemming from the dispute between the children. At least two of Owens' children may have witnessed the shooting, and their accounts are vital to understanding the events leading up to the incident. While witnesses are still being interviewed, officials have confirmed that the shooter threw an object at the children, which escalated the situation. Sheriff Woods clarified that while something was thrown, it was not directly aimed at the children.
This is Ajike “AJ” Owens — a mother of 4 fatally shot after she reportedly knocked on the door of a white woman’s residence to retrieve her child’s iPad. It’s believed that Owens’ children accidentally left the device behind in a field they were playing in, & the woman took it. pic.twitter.com/jfC6JJdQCS— Ben Crump (@AttorneyCrump) June 5, 2023
Unfortunately, it resulted in an unintended impact. Attorney Ben Crump, who represents Owens' family, stated that the neighbor allegedly hurled racial slurs at the family, adding to the distressing nature of the incident. However, there has been no immediate response from Crump's office regarding requests for comment. During a vigil, Owens' mother, Pamela Dias, emphasized that her daughter posed no imminent threat and had no weapon at the time of the shooting. She expressed the heart-wrenching reality that Owens was shot and killed while her 9-year-old son stood beside her, witnessing the tragic event, per NBC News.
According to the Tampa Bay Times, Owen's mother, Pamela Dias, shared, that she "had no weapon" and "posed no imminent threat to anyone. My daughter, my grandchildren's mother, was shot and killed with her 9-year-old son standing beside her." A GoFundMe page that was set up to support the funeral and memorial expenses for the mother-of-four reads, "She had a smile that would light up the room. But most of all, she was known for how much she loved and absolutely lived for her four children. To say she loved her children unconditionally is an understatement. She was a single mother whose life centered around her children." It added, "There wasn’t anything that she wouldn’t do for those near and dear to her heart."
As the investigation continues, authorities are working to gather more information from witnesses and piece together the sequence of events. The community mourns the loss of Ajike Owens, a mother whose life was cut short in a senseless act of violence, leaving behind grieving loved ones and raising concerns about the safety and well-being of residents in the neighborhood.
Cover Image Source: GoFundMe