What we know about the killing of 13-year-old Sinzae Reed

In the past few days, Columbus community members and online activists have been raising concerns about the handling of a homicide of a 13-year-old boy, questioning the actions of Columbus police and the Franklin County Prosecutor’s office.

Sinzae Reed, 13, was shot and killed Oct. 12 at the Wedgewood Apartments in the Hilltop. Krieg Butler, 36, was arrested within 48 hours of Reed’s death and charged with murder; however, those charges were dismissed a few days later and have not been refiled.

Online postings from local and national activists increased the spotlight on the case in recent days, with some making claims about Butler’s alleged affiliation with hate groups, calling for a federal investigation of the case and asking questions about the investigation more than two months after Reed’s death.

Here’s what we know about the case and the ongoing investigation.

Who was Sinzae Reed?

Columbus police were called about 5:45 pm Oct. 12 to the Wedgewood apartment complex in Hilltop on a report of a shooting. According to court records, an eyewitness saw Butler exit a red truck and fire multiple times at Reed.

Butler then entered his vehicle and fled the scene, according to court records. Officers responding to a report of a shooting found Reed with gunshot injuries and provided medical aid until paramedics arrived. Reed was rushed in life-threatening condition to OhioHealth Doctors Hospital, where he died at 6:26 pm

In his obituary, family members remembered Reed, who went by ‘Zay,’ as a boy who loved music, video games and spending time with his friends. Reed attended KIPP Columbus, a charter school on the Northeast Side.

Another resident of Wedgewood apartments, Krieg A. Butler, 36was initially charged with Reed’s homicide and held on $1 million bondbut charges were later dropped pending the investigation.

Why were charges dismissed against Krieg Butler?

Prosecutors filed a motion to dismiss the case in Franklin County Municipal Court after Butler’s arrest. At the time, prosecutors said Butler was alleging that he had fired shots at Reed in self-defense.

Because the autopsy report had not been completed, there was no forensic evidence about the positioning of Reed’s wounds to prove or disprove Butler’s claims. There is no statute of limitations for filing a murder charge, and charges could be refiled at a later date.

The Franklin County Prosecutor’s office said Thursday it has no additional comment on the case at this time because it is an ongoing case.

How did Sinzae Reed die?

Information surrounding Reed’s injuries has been posted online. However, the official autopsy report from the Franklin County Coroner’s office has not been released. The coroner’s office says reports take an average of six months to complete. The Dispatch has filed a request to review the report when it becomes available.

Until the autopsy report is completed, it is not known how many times Reed was shot and where on his body.

Why wasn’t Butler charged for illegally having a firearm?

Butler has a prior conviction from 2019 for misdemeanor domestic violence in Franklin County Municipal Court. Federal law bars people with domestic violence convictions from carrying firearms, putting them under what is commonly called disability.

Ohio law does not have a prohibition against people with misdemeanor convictions for domestic violence from carrying firearms. Ohio law prohibits convicted felons from having firearms in their possession.

Because Butler’s conviction would bar him from having a gun only under federal law, Franklin County prosecutors cannot file that charge against him.

No charges have been filed in federal court as of Thursday afternoon.

What are community leaders and activists saying?

On Thursday, US Rep. Joyce Beatty, D-Columbus, tweeted about Reed’s killing, saying that “we must protect our children,” followed by a hashtag calling for justice in the case.

Members of the local activist community plan to hold a community press conference Sunday at the Wedgewood apartments.

Users on Twitter also have taken notice of the fatal shooting in recent days, with many users sharing details and commentary on Reed, some of which disseminates information that has not been released publicly, including the circumstances of Reed’s death.

Some users on Twitter, including Tariq Nasheed, a controversial commentator and film producer, have speculated that Butler’s motivation for shooting Reed stemmed from racial hatred without providing evidence to support that claim.

@bethany_bruner

@Colebehr_report

bbruner@dispatch.com

cbehrens@dispatch.com

This article originally appeared on The Columbus Dispatch: What to know about the killing of Sinzae Reed

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