Texas First Responder to Plead Not Guilty to Pipe Bomb Charge

An emergency responder to last month’s deadly West (TX) fertilizer plant explosion will plead not guilty to the charge of having possessed materials for a pipe bomb, reports CNN.

Bryce Reed will enter that plea on Wednesday at a federal court hearing, lawyer Jonathan Sibley said.

“We have not been able to obtain specific information about the extent of the allegations, but Mr. Reed anxiously awaits his day in court and his opportunity to address these allegations,” Sibley said in a statement.

Authorities said Friday they were launching a criminal investigation into last month’s blast in the town of West, but have not said whether Reed’s arrest is connected.

Local sheriff’s deputies were called on Tuesday to a residence where they found components for a pipe bomb, according to a criminal complaint affidavit.

The officers determined that Reed had given the materials to the resident of that home last month, the complaint says.

Among the materials found were a galvanized metal pipe, a fuse, coils of metal ribbon and several bags of chemical powders, it adds.

Reed, who was arrested early Friday, is charged with possession of a destructive device.

“At this time authorities will not speculate whether the possession of the unregistered destructive device has any connection to the West fertilizer plant explosion,” the U.S. attorney’s office for the Western District of Texas said in a release.

But Sibley addressed “speculation” that the allegation was related to the April 17 incident, which killed 14 in the town of West. “Let me be very clear,” the defense lawyer said in the statement. “Mr. Reed had no involvement whatsoever in the explosion at the West, Texas fertilizer plant.”

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