WEST (CBSDFW.COM) – Former West paramedic Bryce Reed will plead not guilty to possessing an explosive device and is vehemently denying speculation that he was involved in the explosion there that left 15 dead, his attorney said in a statement.
Bryce Ashley Reed, 31, was arrested on Thursday afternoon in West and appeared in federal court in Waco on Friday morning. According to a criminal complaint, Reed claimed to have made a pipe bomb and gave it to an Abbott resident inside a box.
“Mr. Reed vigorously denies those allegations,” wrote Waco-based attorney Jonathan Sibley.
A neighbor reported Reed to the McLennan County Sheriff’s Department. According to the complaint affidavit, 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 County Sheriffs Office Tuesday, and Reed admitted they were his.
Hours after he was arrested, the Texas Department of Public Safety announced the state would be wading back into a criminal investigation into the explosion at the West Fertilizer Co. on April 17. The timing of the announcement ramped up speculation that Reed may be involved somehow.
McLennan County Sheriff Parnell McNamara said investigators have not found anything that links Reed to the blast.
Reed’s attorney writes that his client had nothing to do with the explosion. Investigators have not publicly announced a cause.
“Let me be very clear, Mr. Reed had no involvement whatsoever in the explosion at the West, Texas fertilizer plant,” the statement reads. “Mr. Reed was one of the first responders and lost friends, family and neighbors in that disaster. Mr. Reed is heartbroken for the friends he lost and remains resolute in his desire to assist in the rebuilding of his community.”
Reed was fired from West Emergency Medical Services on April 19. He is due in court for a hearing on May 15.
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