West, TX EMT Arrested (Update: Criminal Probe Opened)

Breaking news that may or may not be related to the April 17 explosion at a fertilizer plant in West, Texas.

ATF officials confirmed Friday morning the arrest of a West, Texas paramedic for possession of a destructive device.

Bryce Reed, 31, was booked into the McLennan County Jail around 2 a.m. Friday and was later turned over to federal officials.

There has not been conformation that Reed's arrest is in connection to an April 17th plant explosion that killed 15 people.

The Dallas Observer reports that Reed is in federal custody.

Bryce Reed, 31, is in federal custody. There are two different interpretations of the arrest being presented: Fox 4 reports that he's been arrested "in connection to the investigation of the explosion in West, Texas, that killed 15 people." They say the source of that information is unnamed agents with the federal Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms bureau. But The Dallas Morning News reports that officials haven't yet said whether Reed's arrest was related to the explosion. Under state and federal law, a "destructive device" can mean almost anything: a grenade, a bomb, a missile, poison gas or certain types of firearms.

Reed was interviewed frequently in the aftermath of the April 17 explosion at the West fertilizer plant. He told the L.A. Times a heartbreaking story about heading to a close friend's house to tell them that their son Cyrus Reed, a fellow EMT (and evidently no relation), had died in the explosion. A slideshow at USA Todayappears to show Reed weeping at his friend's funeral. In an interview with ABC affiliate KRGV TV, Reed said, "This is a community that makes sure we take care of our own."

Reed was arrested at 2 this morning, and was arraigned a few hours later.

Generally speaking, it's common in arson cases for the perpetrator to loiter around the fires they set, either to watch or even to participate in rescues. It's also not unusual for them to turn up in media interviews telling what they saw. Whether that turns out to be the case in West is not yet known.

WFAA reports that Reed was a volunteer EMS worker and was placed on leave right after the blast. WFAA also reports that he "was in possession of possible bomb making materials" when he was arrested.

More: Here is an April 22 video interview with Bryce Reed.

Update: The Texas Rangers have launched a criminal investigation into the explosion.

Original item at 10:37 a.m.: Hours after local and federal authorities arrested West paramedic Bryce Reed for possessing a destructive device of some kind, Texas Department of Public Safety and the Texas Rangers announced they are launching a criminal investigation into the April 17 fertilizer plant explosion that killed 15.

In a statement released this morning, DPS Director Steven McCraw says, “This disaster has severely impacted the community of West, and we want to ensure that no stone goes unturned and that all the facts related to this incident are uncovered.”