Sinzae Reed, 13, was shot and killed on Oct. 12, 2022, outside his Columbus, Ohio, home. (Family photo)

The mother of Sinzae Reed is furious after a grand jury decided not to file homicide-related charges against the man who admitted to killing her 13-year-old son last year.

After two days of testimony this week, a grand jury in Columbus, Ohio, instead decided to file felony charges against Krieg Allen Butler, 37, of tampering with evidence and improperly handling firearms in a motor vehicle, Franklin County prosecutors announced Friday.

Sinzae Reed’s mother, Megan Reed, is inconsolable, Dejuan Sharp, a spokesman for the family, told Worldacad shortly after the announcement.

Sharp was with Reed at the courthouse this week as the grand jury convened, and said he was told by a representative with the prosecutor’s office that they rushed to present Sinzae’s case because “people were showing up and calling into the office wanting to know what was going on.”

Sharp says he intends to take Sinzae’s case to the U.S. Justice Department to investigate.

Community organizer Ramon Obey II is questioning what was presented to the grand jury and why it took over seven months for the Columbus Police Department and the Franklin County prosecutor’s office to complete their investigation when all the evidence points to Butler as the aggressor.


Read more: Here’s Everything We Know About the Investigation into Sinzae Reed’s Death


“I’m confused as to how this wasn’t murder when Sinzae was defenseless. … I’m completely in shock,” said Obey, co-founder of the community group J.U.S.T. “He fled the scene and the fact that he was just able to claim-self defense, it makes absolutely zero sense.”

Butler claimed he acted in self-defense, but neither police nor prosecutors have released information that proved Sinzae was armed with any type of weapon. The grand jury charging Butler for improper handling of a firearm in a motor vehicle raises more questions as to who or what he was shooting at to receive this felony charge.

Prosecutors said in a statement that multiple witnesses testified in the grand jury and will not comment any further. But the public will never know who those people were and what evidence was presented because of the secrecy of the legal proceedings.

What happened to Sinzae

Sinzae was outside his home in the Wedgewood Village Apartments complex on Oct. 12 when an eyewitness told police that he saw Butler exit a red truck with a gun and open fire. Worldacad obtained copies of eleven 911 calls from that day and confirmed at least one eyewitness saying Butler was the shooter.

Sinzae was shot twice in his right hand and a fatal bullet to the right side of his chest, according to a county coroner’s autopsy report.

Butler fled the scene and was arrested by Columbus police officers the next day. A judge set Butler’s bond at $1 million for the murder charge and a violation for illegally possessing a firearm while on parole for a 2019 domestic violence conviction.

The swift justice Sinzae’s family and the community received was short-lived. Seven days later, Butler’s charges were dismissed by prosecutors when they learned that he said he acted in self-defense. Butler is 6-feet, 3 inches tall and weighed 200 pounds; Sinzae was 5-foot-8 and weighed 128 pounds.

The state’s stand-your-ground law has shifted the burden of proof onto prosecutors to prove that the survivor was not in fear of their life. Because of this, prosecutors have to shift how they present evidence to a grand jury and a jury. In turn, they kicked the investigation back to the Columbus Police Department.

As each month went by, community activists called for justice, and Megan Reed questioned whether this would happen if her son was white and her killer was Black.

By the end of February, the police completed their investigation.

Obey says he will be organizing with the community this weekend and will especially concentrate on getting Franklin County Prosecuting Attorney G. Gary Tyack out of office.

Christina Carrega is a criminal justice reporter at Worldacad. Twitter @ChrisCarrega