Ohio Man Who Claimed Self-Defense After Getting Out of Truck to Fatally Shoot 13-Year-Old Sinzae Reed Finally Charged—But Not for His Murder; Family ‘Disappointed’ 

A Franklin County grand jury has indicted an Ohio man who fatally shot a 13-year-old boy last fall on multiple felony charges.

None of the charges was for murder, despite witnesses noting the suspect got out of his vehicle to shoot the teen.

The 37-year-old has since been arrested, charged, and booked into county jail and is waiting his next day in court. Still, the victim’s mother is disappointed and wants justice.

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

The Franklin County Sheriff’s Office arrested Kreig Butler on Sunday, May 21, days after he was indicted on charges of improper handling of a firearm in a motor vehicle and tampering with evidence related to the shooting death of Sinzae Reed in Columbus on Oct. 12, 2022.

For the firearm charge, Butler faces six to 18 months in prison and a possible fine of $5,000.

If found guilty of tampering with evidence, the man could serve up to 36 months in prison and a possible fine of up to $10,000.

Sinzae’s death captured the attention of the nation because of the seemingly extraordinary circumstances surrounding the shooting.

Reports show one witness spotted Butler, who was the boy’s neighbor, exiting a red truck, firing at Reed, and then driving off. Police got a call about the shooting around 5:45 p.m. When officers arrived at the scene, they found the boy gravely injured before paramedics transported him to a hospital, where he was pronounced died around 6:30 p.m.

According to Sinzae’s autopsy, the boy was shot twice, with bullets hitting him in his chest and right wrist, The Columbus Dispatch reports.

Authorities arrested Butler for murder a day later, with a $1 million bond. However, he was later released when those charges were dismissed eight days after the shooting.

Butler said he acted in self-defense. The Franklin County Prosecutor’s Office states the dismissal was “standard practice” before sending it to the grand jury. The Dispatch reports, “Under an Ohio law that went into effect in 2019, a potential suspect no longer has to prove they shot someone in self-defense, instead the burden rests on the prosecution.

Franklin County Prosecutor G. Gary Tyack presented evidence his office discovered regarding the deadly shooting on May 17 and May 18. Several witnesses also testified under oath, according to ABC News.

After hearing the evidence, grand jurors deliberated for two days before returning with their decision. A warrant was then issued for Butler’s arrest.

Sinzae’s mother, Megan Reed, said she was not happy with the decision but will not stop seeking justice.

“The family, although disappointed with the grand jury decision, we will not be deterred from getting justice on a federal level,” she said in the statement. “We believe our local government is grasping at the lowest hanging fruit. Partly because of [Ohio governor] Mike DeWine’s rush to implement stand your ground legislation without giving our courts and police proper legal guidance.”

Over the seven months, protests in Columbus have bubbled up, with many people outraged that Butler was previously released from jail less than 24 hours after the shooting and that his murder charges were dismissed.

On Saturday, May 20, over 100 protestors flooded downtown Columbus at the Ohio Statehouse calling for justice for Sinzae.

Demonstrators took to the streets because officials have not released information regarding the shooting that would substantiate their decisions. Like other deaths, the community is calling for transparency.

Columbus police and the Franklin County Prosecutor’s office are quiet about whether Sinzae had a firearm during his encounter with Butler, but Butler reportedly told police the boy fired at him.

A spokesperson from the Columbus Division of Police said on Friday that they have officially closed the investigation into the teen’s shooting, local station WCMH reports.

No date has been listed for Butler’s next court appearance.

Back to top