Deputies called to Ocala neighborhood 12 times before woman fatally shot in ongoing feud

Ajike Owens, 35, was shot, killed through neighbor’s door

OCALA, Fla. – Newly released incident reports show Marion County deputies were called a dozen times to an Ocala neighborhood before a mother of four was shot and killed by her neighbor.

Ajike Owens, 35, was shot through the door of her neighbor’s home on Friday when she confronted a woman about throwing a pair of roller skates at her children, according to the Marion County Sheriff’s Office. The neighbor, whose name has not been released, was identified in a report as a 58-year-old woman.

Marion County Sheriff Billy Woods said during a news conference on Monday that deputies responded over 10 times since January 2021 for a “neighborhood feud” between Owens and the woman they say shot her.

An incident report released by the sheriff’s office on Tuesday shows that the neighbor called deputies in February 2022 and reported Owens was on her property with a dog and claimed Owens threw a “no trespassing” sign at her. The neighbor said the sign hit her left shin and caused a red mark, though deputies did not see any visible injuries.

Most recently, deputies responded to a trespassing call in the 1600 block of SW 108th Lane around 9 p.m. Friday when they learned that a shooting happened at the same location.

An incident report from the day of the shooting shows one of the children told deputies there was a dispute between the neighbor and the children about an iPad left on the ground near the woman’s apartment and that the neighbor threw a pair of skates at the children.

Another child reported that Owens was told what happened and Owens went to the woman’s home to confront her about hurting the children, the report shows. Owens was then shot through the door when she was knocking on it, officials said.

The report shows Owens’ children — ages 12, 9, 7 and 2 — were at the scene of the shooting when deputies arrived.

Woods said detectives are working with the State Attorney’s Office and must investigate possible self-defense claims before they can move forward with any possible criminal charges.

The sheriff pointed out that because of Florida’s stand-your-ground law, he can’t legally make an arrest unless he can prove the shooter did not act in self-defense.

Anthony D. Thomas, an attorney with Ben Crump Law, held a news conference Monday afternoon with Owens’ children, mother and community leaders, demanding justice in the shooting.

“My baby was so full of life. She was a single mother of four,” Owens’ mother Pamela Dias said. “She loved them with all her being. To know her is to know that her kids were everything. On Friday, June 2, 2023, at approximately 9 p.m., she was rendered voiceless.”

Two were arrested at a protest for in Ocala over the case on Tuesday.

About two dozen residents made their way inside the Marion County Courthouse to demand that charges be brought against the neighbor.

“We should not be here protesting for this, she should have been charged. It don’t make no sense,” said Tocara Davis, who helped organize the protest. “Our message today is we’re not going anywhere until we get justice. We’re not stopping until we get justice.”

Ocala police say they arrested a woman for disorderly conduct when she was told to get out of the road and then got back into the road. A man was arrested for disorderly conduct when police say he intervened in the arrest.

A GoFundMe was set up for Owens’ children and her funeral expenses following the shooting. As of Tuesday afternoon, it has reached nearly $62,000.

On Tuesday night, Marion deputies told News 6 that a woman had been taken into custody in connection with Owens’ death, though no details were provided about her identity or possible charges.

Get today’s headlines in minutes with Your Florida Daily:

About the Authors:

Brenda Argueta is a digital journalist who joined in March 2021. She graduated from UCF and returned to Central Florida after working in Colorado.

Jerry Askin is an Atlanta native who came to News 6 in March 2018 with an extensive background in breaking news.