Affidavit: EMS volunteer admitted to owning components of pipe bomb

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by MARJORIE OWENS & MATT GOODMAN

WFAA

Posted on May 10, 2013 at 8:57 AM

Updated Tuesday, Nov 12 at 7:15 PM

WEST –– Bryce Reed, a volunteer paramedic who frequently spoke with the media during the aftermath of the West explosion, was arrested Friday and faces a charge of possession of a destructive device.

Reed, who was a volunteer for West Emergency Medical Services, was taken into custody Friday morning and booked in the McLennan County Jail. He was later picked up by the U.S. Marshals and is currently in their custody.

One of Reed's neighbors, who spoke on a condition of anonymity, told News 8's David Schechter that he reported Reed to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms because Reed claimed to have made a pipe bomb that he took to another home.

According to a criminal complaint affidavit released Friday afternoon, the McLennan County Sheriff's Office was called on May 7 to an Abbott residence, where they found components of a pipe bomb, including a 3.5 inch by 1.5 inch galvanized pipe and individual bags of chemical powders weighing "several pounds."

The powders, tested by an ATF chemist, were determined to be potassium nitrate, aluminum powder, red iron oxide, ammonium perchlorate, potassium perchlorate, sulfur powder, air float charcoal and Eckart 10890 German dark aluminum. 

The affidavit, written by ATF Special Agent Douglas J. Kunze, alleges that Reed, 31, gave the items to a resident of the home on April 26 and that he later admitted to "possessing the components of the pipe bomb." 

"After further investigation, it was determined that the resident had unwittingly taken possession of the components from Reed," the complaint reads. 

The ATF chemist and explosives specialist who analyzed the materials both agreed that the recovered parts "can be readily assembled into a destructive device." 

Reed appeared before a federal magistrate judge Friday morning in Waco. Another hearing was scheduled on May 15.

At this point, agents have not connected the arrest to the April 17 West Fertilizer Co. explosion that killed 15, including 12 first responders. The Texas Rangers are now assisting the McLennan County Sheriff's Department with a criminal investigation into the cause of the fatal explosion at the West Fertilizer Co.  

The Texas Department of Public Safety issued a release announcing the investigation on Friday. Other than two prepared quotes from DPS Director Steven McCraw and Sheriff Parnell McNamara, details are thin. 

“This disaster has severely impacted the community of West, and we want to ensure that no stone goes unturned and that all the facts related to this incident are uncovered," McCraw said.

Reed has not been linked to the blast. 

"At this time, we don't have any information at all that ties this incident to West," said McNamara.

Reed's wife and inlaws have declined to comment on the arrest.

News 8 talked with a friend of Bryce Reed.

"He was never acting out or anything crazy," said long-time friend, Matt Chrest. "He’s a good paramedic, good husband, and a good father."

News 8 has learned through a state agency that Reed was fired at West EMS on April 19, two days after the explosion.

The State Fire Marshal has not ruled a cause of the explosion, however state lawmakers were told on May 1 the investigation should be finished by May 10. Assistant State Fire Marshal Kelly Kishner said investigators have interviewed "almost 300" people and had 160 leads to research. 

The Texas Department of Insurance sent an update Friday afternoon on those numbers, saying that investigators from more than 20 agencies are actively following more than 250 leads and have interviewed more than 400 people. 

"At no time was the investigation limited to an industrial accident," reads a fact sheet issued by the department. 

During the April 25 memorial in Waco, organizers played a previous recorded eulogy Reed gave for Cyrus Reed, his friend who was killed battling the blaze. 

Media outlets, from The Dallas Morning News to the Los Angeles Times, mentioned Reed in their reports. The Times reported that the West EMS incident commander was who told Cyrus Reed's family of their loss.

On his Facebook page, Reed appears to be lashing out at those who have accused him of profiting in the wake of the explosion, considering how often his name came up in print. He says his wife recently left him and frequently asks God for support.

Below is the post addressing being paid for his account of the explosion:

"So, I will say it AGAIN!!! I have not received ONE CENT for ANYTHING that I did to help with this situation. I have not been paid by the media, by press, I made nothing for delivering my brothers eulogy, and made NOTHING off of this tragedy. I was a shoulder to cry on, I found a GREAT new family, and was blessed to get to tell them about their son. THIS IS NOT ABOUT ME!!! IT IS ABOUT 12 HEROS THAT DIED TO SAVE LIVES!!!!"

Reed is also the contact point for a fundraiser that's raised $33,177 in tee shirt sales through the website TeeSpring.com. A company spokesman says it only issues certified checks to licensed charities, not to individuals. 

Below is Reed's eulogy for his friend:

News 8's Monika Diaz and David Schechter contributed to this report

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