Jailed Ex-West Paramedic Will Plead Not Guilty

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WEST (May 11, 2013)—Former West EMS volunteer Bryce Ashley Reed, 31, who remains jailed without bond, charged with possession of a destructive device after admitting to possession of the components to make a pipe bomb, said through his attorney Saturday he’ll plead not guilty and has no connection to the deadly April 17 fertilizer plant explosion that left 15 dead and about 200 injured.

Bryce Ashley Reed (Jail photo)

Waco attorney Jonathan Sibley said in a prepared statement Saturday that Reed eagerly awaits his next court appearance Wednesday, which will include a detention hearing.

The statement said Reed remained "heartbroken" about the explosion, in which he lost friends, and wants to continue to help his community rebuild.

Reed was a volunteer paramedic with West EMS, but is no longer affiliated with the service, a source said Friday.

It was earlier reported by The Texas Department of State Health Services that Reed was “let go" by West Emergency Medical Services on April 19, The Associated Press later reported.

But Tom Marek of West EMS told News 10 Sunday that Reed and 62 other volunteers who make up the department were all deemed inactive on April 19.

"Due to the extravagance of the explosion, all members of the West EMS team had to be reviewed mentally and physically before they were allowed to perform with West EMS again,” Marek said.

"As members made their way back onto the roster, state, and federal counselors advised that Mr. Reed needed more time to heal and grieve before returning to work."

Seven members of West EMS are currently inactive.

Reed remained inactive up until his arrest on Friday.

The pipe bomb components were found Tuesday at the home of an Abbott resident who “had unwittingly taken possession of the components from Reed on April 26,” an arrest warrant affidavit said.

(Read The Affidavit)

The components included a 3.5-inch by 1.5-inch length of galvanized pipe with end caps, in one of which was drilled a 1/8th-inch hole, the affidavit said.

Authorities also recovered hobby fuse, a lighter, a digital scale, a plastic spoon, six coils of metal ribbon, several pounds of chemicals in separate bags including potassium nitrate, potassium perchlorate, sulfur power, air float charcoal and aluminum power, the affidavit said.

Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives experts who inspected the material agreed that the components could “be readily assembled into a destructive device,” the affidavit said.

“Reed admitted to possessing the components of the pipe bomb,” the affidavit said.

ATF agents arrested Reed late Thursday afternoon in West.

He was booked into the McLennan County Jail at around 2 a.m. Friday.

“Authorities will not speculate whether the possession of the unregistered destructive device has any connection to the West fertilizer plant explosion on April 17,” federal prosecutors said in a press release Friday afternoon.

But local authorities said earlier Friday that there's no evidence linking Reed to the April 17 blast.

“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 at the West Fertilizer Plant and the arrest of Bryce Reed,” a press release from the McLennan County Sheriff’s Office said.

No further details were provided.

Reed was a volunteer paramedic with West EMS, but is no longer affiliated with the service, a source said Friday.

The Texas Department of State Health Services was informed Friday that Reed was “let go" by West Emergency Medical Services on April 19, The Associated Press later reported.

At the public memorial service for West’s fallen first responders on April 26 at Baylor, the day before authorities say he gave the components to the Abbott resident, Reed sat on the second row below the stage from which President Barack Obama, Gov. Rick Perry and U.S. Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, spoke.

He also delivered part of the videotaped eulogy for firefighter Cyrus Reed, who died in the April 17 explosion at West Fertilizer Co.

Cyrus Reed, a Houston native was a member of the Abbott Volunteer Fire Department, the Bynum Volunteer Fire Department, West Ambulance, and a former member of the Elm Mott Volunteer Fire Department.

Bryce Reed isn’t related to him, but considered him a ‘brother in arms,” a source said.

Reed made an initial appearance before U.S. Magistrate Jeffrey C. Manske at 10:15 a.m. Friday in Waco.

Manske presided over the hearing via closed-circuit television from his courtroom at Fort Hood.

The hearing was closed to the media and the public because the arrest warrant was sealed.

(West: Information For Residents, Numbers To Call, Ways To Help)

(West: More Headlines And Information)

(City Of West Website)

(West’s Fallen)

(Read The Affidavit)