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.
Reed, 31, was charged Friday and taken into federal custody. 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.
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms investigated the claim after a neighbor reported Reed to the McLennan County Sheriff's Department. According to the complaint affidavit, Reed handed off a 3.5 inch by 1.5 inch galvanized pipe along with several individual bags of chemical powders, which weighed "several pounds."
As we reported yesterday, the powders 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.
An ATF analysis found the materials "can be readily assembled into a destructive device."
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.
"At this time, we don't have any information at all that ties this incident to West," McNamara told News 8's Monika Diaz on Friday.
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.