Nigerian mother of four shot dead by US neighbour over children’s disagreement

A Nigerian mother of four, Ajike Owens was shot dead by a white neighbour while she was trying to recover an iPad taken from her child in front of their home, in a housing complex, in Ocala, Florida, the United States.

The 35-year-old woman popularly called ‘AJ’ was killed in the presence of her 9-year-old son, according to a Twitter post made by a civil rights lawyer, Ben Crump, on Monday.

Crump alleged that the Nigerian woman was shot by her 58-year-old woman neighbour who had complained several times about Owens’ children playing outdoors, according to the Guardian UK.

The US attorney also disclosed that the police have yet to make any arrest because of the state’s ‘stand your ground’ rule, describing the murder as “unjust killing.”

In his own reaction, the Marion County sheriff, Billy Woods disclosed at a Monday afternoon press conference that the shooting seemed to be the culmination of a feud between the neighbours. 

Woods added that deputies had been called to the address “six to eight” times in two and a half years.

He said he could not confirm that Owens was attempting to retrieve an iPad when she was killed, but said the shooter had thrown a pair of skates towards Owens’s children before the fatal confrontation.

Woods said, “Somebody threw something at my child, I’d be pissed off, What parent wouldn’t be? Who wouldn’t be upset at that, regardless of whether they intentionally threw it at them or not?

“I wish our shooter would have called us instead of taking actions into our own hands. I wish Mrs Owens had called us in the hopes we could have never got to the point in which we are here today.”

The Guardian UK said Woods did not identify the shooter’s name, age or race, but added she was being “cooperative.” 

He urged patience from the community while the investigation continued, stating that not all the children who witnessed the incident had been interviewed yet.

“We’re not cold-hearted bastards, we’re not going to interview children the night they possibly witnessed their mother being killed. We’re going to wait. We have to rely on professionals and expert counsellors to sit down with them, [but] I’m here to assure the family and the friends that my office is going to do everything to bring justice,” Woods added.

The report further revealed that the incident happened as several children were playing on the grass in front of a duplex building at the development, according to neighbours who spoke to the Ocala Star-Banner. 

They said a female resident emerged from one of the units, threw something towards the children, scooped up an iPad and retreated inside.

One of the children told Owens what happened, the neighbour said, and she went to the woman’s door.

“She confronted her and, according to the one side, there was a lot of aggressiveness from both of them, back and forth, whether it be banging on the doors, banging on the walls and threats being made,” Woods said.

“And then, at that moment, it’s when Owens was shot through the door.”