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‘A Baby Is Gone’: Ohio Prosecutors Face Backlash Amid Demand for Charges In Killing of Black Boy Allegedly Shot Five Times By White Neighbor

Social media influencers and criminal justice advocates are pushing for charges against a white Ohio man who allegedly shot a 13-year Black boy multiple times and walked free, even though he was legally prohibited from carrying a gun.

Reports show that Krieg Butler, 36, was initially charged with murder for the Oct. 12 killing at the Wedgewood Apartments in Columbus, Ohio, but prosecutors asked to drop the charges days later, citing “standard procedure.”

However, many on social media are calling for Butler to be charged, with some launching #JusticeForSinzaeReed and rallying for others to call the Franklin County prosecutor’s office to pressure it to move on the case.

Justice for Sinzae Reed
Krieg Butler, left, is accused of fatally shooting Sinzae Reed on Oct. 12, 2022, in Columbus, Ohio. (Photos: Twitter/Chris Evans/

Atlanta Black Star contacted the prosecutor’s office on Thursday and was sent an Oct. 27 statement initially issued after Franklin County Municipal Court Judge Mike McAllister accepted its motion, filed on Oct. 17, and dismissed the case. 

“The Municipal Court does not have jurisdiction to hear felony cases except for a limited period of time. It is standard practice for almost every felony case filed in Municipal Court to be dismissed,” the statement said.

The prosecutor’s office said, however, that the case is still “under review for possible presentation” to a grand jury, “and unfortunately, I cannot advise you when the case will be presented.”

Columbus police homicide Det. Keith O’Connor told The Columbus Dispatch that “there has been a claim of self-defense” by Butler and his mother but did not provide additional details.

Sinzae, affectionately known as Zay, according to his obituary, “loved listening to music and playing video games.” His favorite TV shows were “Snowfall” and “Power,” and he liked hanging out with his friends. Sinzae attended Kipp Columbus and had been doing online classes at the time of his death.

Sinzae’s family protested the decision and held signs outside the courthouse on Oct. 27. The boy’s sister had a sign with the mantra now flooding Twitter and TikTok: “Justice for Sinzae Reed.” She questioned how Butler could claim self-defense.

“Sinzae’s not a bad kid at all,” Nichols told The Dispatch. “How was a grown man scared of him? He did not deserve to die.”

According to reports, a witness saw Butler exiting a red truck before shooting Sinzae. His family said he was shot four or five times, including shots in his back and right arm, The Dispatch reports. He then returned to his truck and fled the scene, arrest documents show.

An official autopsy has not been released. The teenager died later at a nearby hospital. Butler, who was the boy’s neighbor, was arrested the next day and held on a $1 million bond, but it was no longer valid when he was released five days later, with his case being dismissed.

“A baby is gone,” Sinzae’s sister told The Dispatch in October.

Butler’s criminal record also raised the alarm about the treatment of his case. He was previously convicted of a misdemeanor domestic violence charge, making it illegal for him to possess a firearm.

“A grown man killed a child, and nobody cares,” Nicholas said. “We want to know why he’s free.”

The prosecutor’s office said, “not every case initiated in Municipal Court is presented to the Grand Jury.”

 “If the case is submitted to our office for review, we review the investigation to determine whether there is sufficient evidence to proceed and whether it is appropriate to pursue the case,” the office responded in an email. The process reportedly could take months.

Some social media users believe the crime and the time lapse in the case are racially motivated.

“Columbus Ohio is allowing a racist child murderer to roam free. The murderer even lives in the same apartment complex as Sinzae’s family,” wrote Twitter user Comrade Ohio.

“What Happened in Ohio to Sinzae Reed is not the first rodeo,” wrote DrunkenCWisdom.

“Killing a Black child in broad daylight and getting away with it… I simply don’t have the words for the constant trauma this country inflicts on us #SinzaeReed,” wrote Janessa Sambola-Harris.

A flyer posted on Twitter shows a rally is planned on Jan. 1 at the apartment building where Sinzae was killed.

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