A Fairfax County teenager is still in the hospital after stepping on an explosive device in New York over the weekend. Connor Golden is in stable condition, but the lower part of his leg had to be amputated after he stepped onto some rocks in Central Park, triggering an explosion.
“We don’t know what happened, there was a small explosion and then dust,” says Connor’s friends, Matthew Stabile and Thomas Hinds, who were with him at the time. “Beyond the caliber of fireworks, just based on what we heard,” they said.
The friends all graduates of Oakton High School, were in New York City for the weekend, walking through Central Park when Connor stepped on the device. The sound of the blast was captured on cameras nearby covering the funeral of Nobel Laureate and Holocaust survivor, Elie Wiesel.
Tourists heard the boom, too. “It sounded kind of like a cannon went off,” says one woman. “Like I thought it was maybe like a 4th of July festivity.”
Investigators are still trying to determine was the device was and who put it there. Police believe it was some sort of experiment, placed there on purpose. “This is the time of year when we typically see a lot of experimentation – ‘explosive experimenters’ if you will,” says Lt. Mark Torre, NYPD Bomb Squad Commanding Officer.
Back home in Silver Spring, Connor’s grandparents can’t understand why someone would do this. “Were they expecting someone to just walk along there? It could have been a kid, it could have been anyone. It doesn’t make sense to me,” says Terence Golden, Connor’s grandfather.
Connor’s lower leg was amputated and his grandfather says he may need even more surgeries. “I talked to my son last night and he is still pretty groggy and his parents are with him,” says Terence. “So he knows they are there, it’s going to take him a while to recover from this.”
Police are using K9 units to search the park for any other devices. Investigators say the explosive may have been there longer than a day.
“I just hope nothing else happens. I heard yesterday they were scanning Central Park to make sure there weren’t any more devices like that. Hopefully no one else will get hurt,” says Terence.
Golden is currently studying in Florida, at the University of Miami.