The fireworks got a bit out of control in New York’s Central Park near 68th and Fifth Avenue this July 4th holiday weekend when a person officials are calling an “explosive hobbyist” most likely left a homemade firework on the ground. And when 18-year-old Connor Golden jumped off a rock, and landed on the device, which detonated and subsequently caused a severe leg injury for Golden, who underwent surgery at Bellevue Hospital on Sunday evening.
Golden and two college friends, Thomas Hinds and Matthew Stabile, met in New York for the holiday weekend. Connecticut native John Murphy was walking a few yards in front of the three friends when the device detonated. “I suddenly heard this extremely loud explosion directly behind me. When I turned around, I saw Connor lying there, his foot completely gone below the ankle.” Another bystander removed his belt to create a tourniquet to stop Golden’s bleeding.
The NYPD bomb squad was called to the scene but determined that the blast was not terror-related, but instead was caused by a homemade firework that had been left behind. Lt. Mark Torre explained that it is not unusual for people to make their own fireworks around the Fourth of July, and went on to say that the person who left the device was probably not intentionally trying to hurt anyone. “They probably tried to light it on Friday night, but it didn’t go off because of the rain. We found wet matches near it.”
Authorities went on to say that the explosive was in a place where someone would not ordinarily have stepped, but they did scour the park and found no other devices, and even some forensic evidence that suggests the device was not meant to go off when someone stepped on it. The device was suspected to have been in the park for more than a day. Golden and his two friends were looking for trees to do slacklining. Authorities have cleared all three from any involvement in planting the device.