Shooting death of Sinzae Reed, Ohio teen killed by man claiming self-defense, now ruled a homicide

ABC News – Abby Cruz

January 18, 2023


Charges against the shooter were dropped in October.

The fatal shooting of a Black teenager by a white man in Columbus, Ohio, who claimed self-defense was officially ruled a homicide in an autopsy report.

According to a police complaint in October, a witness to the shooting saw Krieg Butler, 36, shoot and kill 13-year-old Sinzae Reed outside of an apartment complex on Oct. 12. The witness said Butler exited his truck, fired shots at Sinzae and drove off, the complaint said.

Butler was arrested days after the shooting and charged with murder, but those charges were dropped pending completion of the investigation after prosecutors said Butler claimed self-defense in the shooting during his arraignment in October, according to a statement from the Columbus Police Department.

The county prosecutor’s office told ABC News on Wednesday, “The matter is under internal review and as such no statements will be made at this time.”

The Columbus Police Department did not immediately respond to a request for comment Wednesday on the autopsy results.

“In Ohio, the self-defense law changed and the legal part of that is the burden changed,” Channa Lloyd, criminal attorney and managing partner of The Cochran Firm, has said. “Previously, if a shooter said ‘I shot someone in self-defense,’ they had to prove it was self-defense. Now that the law has changed, it changes that burden and shifts it to the prosecution.”

According to Lloyd, the self-defense rule is a byproduct of the Stand Your Ground laws and is controversial because it protects the shooter as opposed to the victim.

“The Krieg Butler case is under review for potential presentation to the grand jury as evidence is gathered and reviewed,” the Franklin County Prosecutor’s Office previously said in a statement to ABC News. “Because this is an active case, we cannot comment further at this time.”

In a statement on Dec. 31, “The investigation continues and the Division will not be providing any more statements on the case. Once the investigation is complete, it will be presented to the Franklin County Prosecutor’s Office. Any further questions regarding this case should be directed towards them.”

“I need justice for my son. My son’s no longer here,” Megan Reed told Davis. “I’m going to continue this war, and I will be his voice until he gets justice.”

Megan Reed said she believes race played a part in the death of her son and that if her son was white, he probably wouldn’t have been killed that day.

“I’m very frustrated because I know if it was the other way around,” she said, “if it was a Black man and my child was white, the Black man would be in jail and my son would have justice.




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