West EMT to plead "not guilty"

By Robert Arnold - Investigative Reporter
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May 10, 2013: Booking photo of Bryce Ashley Reed.

WACO, Texas - An attorney representing a West EMT arrested on federal charges of possession of a destructive device said his client intends to plead not guilty to the charges.

In a statement to Local 2 investigates, Waco attorney Jonathan Sibley also asked the public "not rush to judgment" with respect to the charges filed against Bryce Ashley Reed.

"Mr. Reed has been through significant hardship in the wake of the disaster in West, and he has responded and served his community with honor and strength," Sibley wrote in a statement.

Reed, a paramedic who responded to the April 17th explosion, was arrested Friday. Federal investigators told Local 2 that nine days after the explosion Reed asked a friend in a neighboring town to store a box for him.

Documents filed in Waco federal court read that person contacted the McLennan County Sheriff's Office after realizing what was in the container.

Court documents show investigators found a capped, galvanized pipe with a small hole drilled in one end cap, a fuse, several pounds of chemical powders in bags, a lighter, a digital scale, and metal ribbons.

In the criminal complaint investigators also wrote that "affiant also determined from other law enforcement investigators that Reed admitted to possessing the components of the pipe bomb."

Reed's attorney wrote that his client intends to plead not guilty to the charges when he appears in federal court on May 15th. Even though investigators said they have found no connection between Reed and the explosion at the West Fertilizer company, Sibley addressed the issue in his statement.

"Let me be very clear: Mr. Reed had no involvement whatsoever in the explosion at the West, Texas fertilizer plant," Sibley wrote.

On the day Reed was arrested, the head of the Texas Department of Public Safety, Steve McCraw, announced he had instructed the Texas Rangers and the McLennan County Sheriff's Office to launch a criminal probe into the explosion. Neither McCraw nor the Sheriff's Office would comment on why this action was taken.

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