A former paramedic who became a public face of grief for a Texas town after a deadly fertilizer plant explosion was sentenced to prison Wednesday in connection with a pipe bomb, which was unrelated to the blast.
Bryce Reed was sentenced to 21 months in state prison followed by three years of supervised release, a spokeswoman for the federal court in Waco, Texas, told the Los Angeles Times. Reed remains free on bond pending his surrender to prison authorities, she said.
At his sentencing, Reed denied any role in the April 17 plant explosion in West, Texas, where 15 people were killed. Reed was arrested several weeks later. He was not charged in connection with the blast.
The cause of the explosion officially remains “undetermined.” Authorities have said it could have been caused by a problem with the factory’s electrical system or by a criminal act. There was also speculation that a golf cart at the scene might have malfunctioned and thrown off a spark.
Reed was highly visible after the blast, speaking on national television and reassuring people in the town, about 80 miles south of Dallas, that they were safe.
A few weeks later, he was arrested on charges of trying to put together materials, including chemicals, for a small pipe bomb. He gave the materials to a friend, who called authorities.
In October, Reed pleaded guilty to conspiring to make an unregistered firearm and attempting to obstruct justice.
He admitted searching the Internet last December for “explosives,” “explosions,” “explosive ingredients” and “instructions for making explosives.”