Reporting Jack Fink
WEST (CBSDFW.COM) - A man from West has been arrested for possessing an assortment of bomb making components. Bryce Ashley Reed, 31, was arrested on Thursday afternoon in West and appeared in federal court in Waco on Friday morning. Prosecutors say he did not enter a plea.
An affidavit says on April 26, someone in the town of Abbott unwittingly took a galvanized metal pipe, fuse, lighter and a number of chemicals from Reed. The chemicals included potassium nitrate, aluminum powder, Iron Oxide, and Ammonium perchorate. The affidavit says all the items are elements of a pipe bomb. Court documents say the person who had the materials called the McLennan Coutny Sheriffs Office Tuesday, and Reed admitted they were his.
Federal authorities filed a criminal complaint charging Reed with unlawfully possessing an unregistered destructive device. If convicted, Reed faces up to 10 years in federal prison and a maximum $250,000 fine.
At this time, authorities will not speculate whether the arrest is connected to the West explosion.
Reed is a paramedic, who assisted in evacuation efforts just after the explosion. He was also close to Cyrus Reed, a first responder who died in the explosion. Bryce gave the video public eulogy for Cyrus at a large public memorial for the victims. He described himself as a brother, even though they were not related.
“Cyrus was on fire for life, he said in the eulogy. “He lived his life from day to day with the knowledge that one day, he would ultimately meet his demise.”
ATF agents were seen at Cyrus Reed’s apartment in Hillsboro Friday. The ATF would not specify why they were there and said it was not serving a search warrant.
Hillsboro Police were also at the apartment Friday. Witnesses said it was the second time they were at Reed’s apartment this week. Police said there was a theft reports there several days ago. The apartment manager said Reed’s parents paid for the apartment, and had been there off and on since his death.
An email obtained by The Associated Press though shows the Texas Department of State Health Services was informed Friday that Bryce Reed was “let go” by West Emergency Medical Services April 19, two days after the West explosion. The email was written by an official with a regional EMS group. It says West EMS administrator Tom Marek asked that the state agency be notified.
Children’s Medical Center of Dallas confirms that Bryce is a paramedic at the hospital. He joined the hospital on Jan. 7, 2013, but has been on leave since April 3. It is unclear why he was placed on leave.
Hours after the arrest, the Texas Department of Public Safety and the McLennan County Sheriff’s Office launch a criminal investigation into the plant explosion.
“This disaster has severely impacted the community of West,” said Texas DPS director Steven McCraw in a Friday morning statement, “and we want to ensure that no stone goes unturned and that all the facts related to this incident are uncovered.”
McLennan County Sheriff Parnell McNamara added, “It is important to emphasize that at this point, no evidence has been uncovered to indicate any connection to the events surrounding the fire and subsequent explosion … and the arrest of Bryce Reed by the ATF.” He continued, “The citizens of McLennan County and Texas must have confidence that this incident has been looked at from every angle and professionally handled — they deserve nothing less.”
Residents in West still grieving the loss of 14 people, the loss of homes and jobs are stunned by the news of Reed’s arrest. Crystal LeDane lived near Reed for three years and says their children played together. She says she never saw any evidence that Reed could be making bombs.
“I’ve never seen him bring in pipes, no. Nothing has raised suspicions. You see him bring in Walmart bags. You see him bring in gallons of milk, bags of ice, the same things you bring in at your house,” she said.
Reed will be back in federal court in Waco next Wednesday for a detention hearing.
(©2013 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)
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