COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — A 37-year-old man will not face murder charges in the October shooting death of 13-year-old Sinzae Reed, a Franklin County grand jury decided Friday.
Krieg Butler faces charges of improper handling of a firearm in a motor vehicle and tampering with evidence, however, according to an indictment filing with the Franklin County Court of Common Pleas. Both are felonies.
Reed died after Butler fatally shot him on Oct. 12 outside of the Wedgewood Village Apartments in the Hilltop. He was shot twice, once in the chest and once in the hand, according to the Franklin County coroner.
Witnesses interviewed by Columbus Division of Police officers investigating the scene that evening said they saw Butler get out of his truck before the shooting, then get back in and drive away. A division spokesperson said in an email statement Friday that Columbus police — after “gathering all available evidence and information” — closed its investigation and turned that over to the grand jury.
The day after Reed’s death, officers arrested Butler and he was charged with murder. During his arraignment, Butler claimed the shooting was in self-defense.
But the felony murder charge against Butler was dismissed on Oct. 20. At the time, the Franklin County Prosecutor’s Office said that dismissal was “standard practice” — although it came under heavy public scrutiny from family and community members.
Beyond the indictments Friday, the prosecutor’s office declined in a statement to comment further on the case as it will be “actively prosecuted.” The grand jury deliberated for two days this week before handing back two felony indictments.
Those two charges are not enough in Ramon Obey’s eyes. Obey — a community organizer and activist — has been working in the Wedgewood community with the West Side organization Justice, Unity, & Social Transformation (JUST).
“Justice is either all the way, or it doesn’t exist, and that’s how we have to start viewing these things,” Obey said in an interview with NBC4. “We have to hold him fully accountable, and even holding him fully accountable truly isn’t justice, because there’s a kid who’s not here anymore.”
In January, Reed’s family held a press conference just feet from where he was shot and demanded that Butler face charges in Reed’s death. “The only thing I have left of him are his ashes around my neck,” mother Megan Reed said.
A warrant has been issued for Butler’s arrest, according to the prosecutor’s office.