AJ Owens update: Children remember Ocala mom year after shooting death

Sunday marked a year since a Florida mom was allegedly shot in Ocala by her neighbor, following years of apparent disputes between them. 

The family of Ajike "Aj" Owens, including her mother and children, gathered to celebrate her life and memory. 

"My mom is my hero. Forever will she be in my heart," one of her children said, reading a poem to remember their mother.

They also danced.

"(I) Feel that they were dancing for their mom, and she was smiling down on them," said Pamela Dias, AJ Owens' mother.

Owens, a mother of four, went to her neighbor's home, Susan Lorincz, to confront her following a dispute with her children, police said. At some point, Lorincz fired a gun through the front door, striking Owens, whose son was watching nearby.

Owens later died. 

Related: Family, leaders call for change after Florida mom allegedly shot, killed by neighbor

Lorincz was arrested and later charged with manslaughter with a firearm and assault in Owens' death. The trial is scheduled to begin in a few weeks. Charges of culpable negligence, assault, and battery were dropped, according to online records.

She pleaded not guilty to the charges.

Related: Family of Ajike 'AJ' Owens speaks out after neighbor charged with manslaughter, not murder

Owens' children are now being cared for by her mom.

"Today was a very hard day, actually. The year was a hard year. But today just brought back all the memories of June 2, 2023, and and the hurt, the pain of hearing the calls," she said.

Anthony Thomas, the family's attorney, said Owens' son, who witnessed the shooting, is expected to take the stand during the trial.

"The state’s attorney’s office has assured us and given us confidence, there won’t be harsh cross-examination, but as it affects the kids, they’ll have to re-live this one more time in the trial," he said.

Dias said she's grateful to the family and friends who've helped them over the last year.

"Every day I have to muster up the energy and the courage to face this world and make sure that they're okay, that they can have as much of a normal and healthy childhood, and also to see their strength and courage helps me. I have no choice but to do it, and I thank god for giving me the strength. And I have amazing people around me who help support us," she said.