WACO, Texas (AP) — A first responder who helped evacuate victims of a deadly explosion at a Texas fertilizer plant has been indicted on a federal firearm charge.
A grand jury indicted Bryce Ashley Reed on a charge of possession of an unregistered firearm on Tuesday. He is scheduled for arraignment Wednesday afternoon.
Attorney Jonathan Sibley says Reed intends to plead not guilty.
Meanwhile, the detention hearing for Reed that was scheduled for Wednesday has been canceled, the U.S. Attorney's Office said.
"By agreement between the defense and the prosecution, Reed deferred his right to a detention hearing to a later date," the office said in a statement. "Reed will waive his arraignment and enter a plea of not guilty. Reed remains in federal custody."
Reed was among emergency crews that responded to a massive fire and explosion last month in the small town of West, which left at least 14 people dead. Officials say Reed lost his job in the days following the explosion and county authorities initially charged him with possession of an explosive device. Sibley says the allegations against Reed remain the same.
Authorities have not accused Reed of wrongdoing in the April 17 explosion.
Last week, Reed was charged with possessing bomb-making material nine days after the explosion, which killed 14 people, including 10 firefighters and paramedics. Federal authorities stressed that Reed has not been linked to the plant explosion. But they won't say if Reed is suspected of having the bomb-making materials at the time of the blast, or if such materials may have contributed to the explosion.
In a statement released Saturday, Reed's attorney, Jonathan Sibley, described his client as "heartbroken" and said Reed will plead not guilty to the explosives charge Wednesday. It also said Reed "had no involvement whatsoever in the explosion." Reed allegedly gave the materials, including chemical powders, to a man on April 26, and that man called authorities, according to court documents.
State and federal agents on Thursday will release the findings of an investigation into a deadly explosion at a Texas fertilizer plant.
Investigators have spent nearly a month combing a 93-foot-wide crater to try to pinpoint what caused the fire and the massive blast at the West Fertilizer Co. last month that killed 14 people. They have focused on ammonium nitrate, a potentially explosive chemical used as a fertilizer, as the cause of the explosion.
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