What a crazy coincidence! Or is it…?
(USA Today) –A volunteer paramedic who was among the first on the scene of a fire and massive explosion last month at a West, Texas fertilizer plant was arrested early Friday and charged with possession of a destructive device after telling authorities a pipe bomb and other items related to destructive devices found at another residence were his.
Officials have not said whether the arrest of Bryce Reed is related to the April 17 explosion at the West Fertilizer Co. that killed 14 people, injured around 200 and destroyed hundreds of homes in the vicinity.
The arrest came as Texas law enforcement officials said they had launched a criminal investigation into the massive fertilizer plant explosion.
Reed, 31, made an initial appearance in federal court Friday, but did not enter a plea. Assistant U.S. Attorney Mark Frazier said he would not release further details until court documents were unsealed sometime later in the day.
An affidavit signed by Douglas Kunze, a special agent for the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, said a pipe bomb, chemicals and other items had been located in an Abbott, Texas home believed to be a co-worker of Reed’s.
“It was determined that the resident had unwittingly taken possession of the components from Reed on April 26,” Kunze said in the affidavit. Reed admitted to other investigators to possessing components of the pipe bomb, according to Kunze.
Until now, Investigators have largely treated the explosion as an industrial accident, but the Texas Department of Public Safety said in statement that the agency has now instructed the Texas Rangers and the McLennan County Sheriff’s Department to conduct a criminal probe.
Bryce Reed, a volunteer emergency medical technician, appeared in U.S. District Court in Waco, Texas, on Friday, where he faced one count of unlawfully possessing an unregistered destructive device, prosecutors said. He did not enter a plea, said Daryl Fields, a spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Western District of Texas.
Reed was arrested on Thursday. Federal prosecutors said they responded to a home in Abbott, Texas, where they found a section of pipe 3-1/2 inches long and 1-1/2 inches in diameter, end caps, fuses and explosive powder. The resident of that home, whom they did not identify, told police the components came from Reed.
According to sources, Reed asked an acquaintance to store a box for him sometime after the April 19 explosive at the West Fertilizer Company. That person reportedly found what appeared to be a pipe bomb in the box. Authorities were then contacted which led to the investigation.