West Volunteer Arrested for “Destructive Device”

Volunteer firefigher possessed bomb-making components, ATF says

An emergency volunteer in West was arrested Thursday afternoon by ATF agents on a charge of possession of a destructive device, the U.S. Attorney's Office said Friday.

Bryce A. Reed, 31, a paramedic who became a spokesperson for the town of West after last month's deadly explosion at a fertilizer facility, which is now the subject of a criminal investigation, appeared before a federal judge in Waco at 10:15 a.m. Friday.

The hearing was closed to the public, but a criminal complaint released Friday afternoon by the Department of Justice said Reed gave an assortment of bomb-making components to a friend on April 26.

KPRC-TV reported the friend eventually looked in the box, saw what he believed to be a pipe bomb, and notified the authorities.

On May 7, members of the McLennan County Sheriff's Department bomb squad investigated and rendered safe the device in the box. In the criminal complaint, agents with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives listed the contents, which had not been assembled into a working bomb, as follows: 

"The components included a galvanized metal pipe that was 3.5 inches in length by 1.5 inches in diameter. Attached to the pipe were two galvanized end caps, one of which contained a drilled hole approximately 1/8 inch in diameter. Additionally, the canisters contained an unknown amount of hobby fuse, a lighter, a digital scale, plastic spoon, six coils of metal ribbon, and several pounds of chemical powders in individual bags.  The powders included Potassium Nitrate, Aluminum powder, Red Iron Oxide, Ammonium Perchlorate, Potassium Perchlorate, Sulfur powder, Air Float Charcoal and Eckart 10890 German Dark Aluminum."

According to the complaint, Reed admitted to possessing the components of the pipe bomb.

A short time after his arrest was announced Friday morning, the Texas Department of Public Safety announced that the Texas Rangers and McLennan County Sheriff's Department were opening a criminal investigation into the explosion. Officials have made no connection between Reed's arrest and the investigation into the deadly 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 by the A.T.F.," the McLennan County Sheriff's Department said in a news release Friday afternoon.

Reed remains in federal custody pending a detention hearing on May 15. If convicted, Reed faces up to 10 years in federal prison and faces a fine of up to $250,000.

Reed's Background

Bryce Ashley Reed is married with one child, according to his posts on Facebook. He posted on May 7 that his wife left him sometime after the explosion in West. Photographs on the page show him working as a firefighter and flight paramedic for Children's Medical Center in Dallas. Children's told NBC 5 that Reed began his employment with them on Jan. 7, but that he went on leave April 3. Per policy, they were not able to say why he went on leave.

On Wednesday, about a day before his arrest, Reed posted the following message on Facebook:

I just wanted to tell everyone thank you for all the prayers and support. I'm going to take a break from Facebook to reflect. I assure you that I'm ok. God bless you all, and please if you heed nothing else I have said, love one another. God bless. Bryce.

 According to statements posted on his Linkedin page, Reed said he worked in a variety of jobs including flight paramedic, SWAT paramedic and as a systems analyst at the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas. Reed listed the U.S. Biological and Chemical Weapons Depot at Fort McClellan and Advanced Field Critical Care at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center among his educational accomplishments. Among his specialties, he included music marketing, Christian ministry and critical care medicine.

Reed spoke at the funeral for West volunteer firefighter and close friend Cyrus Reed, no relation, who was killed in the blast. Video of Reed's memorial can be seen in the video below:

NBC 5's Eric King and Scott Gordon contributed to this report.

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