MIAMI (CBSMiami) – New York City Police are investigating an explosive device that a University of Miami student stepped on in Central Park injuring him severely in the leg.
As of Monday afternoon, doctors reported 18-year-old Connor Golden in stable condition at Bellevue Hospital.
Investigators suspect the homemade gadget was likely an “explosive experiment” that was probably designed to “make a large noise, maybe make a flash,” concocted by someone with a basic understanding of chemistry.
Paramedics arrived on scene just minutes after the explosion Sunday and rushed Golden – the University of Miami student visiting New York for the holiday – out of Central Park.
“His friends claim he was just walking down the rocks and stepped on something,” said one witness.
Golden’s friends Matthew Stabile and Thomas Hinds witnessed the blast.
“We don’t know what happened. There was a small explosion and then dust,” said Stabile.
“Beyond the caliber of fireworks just based on what we heard,” said Hinds.
“We believe this could have been put here as some sort of experiment,” said NYPD Deputy Chief John O’Connell.
Just yards away, cameras captured the sound of the explosion while covering the funeral of Nobel Laureate Elie Wiesel.
“It sounded kind of like a cannon went off. Like I thought it was maybe like a fourth of July festivity,” said one witness.
At last check, the bomb squad was still collecting evidence on Monday.
“This is clearly explosive material, but there’s nothing to indicate that this was an explosive device placed or put in this area with a specific intent to harm any individuals,” said NYPD Bomb Squad Commanding Officer Lt. Mark Torre.
Lieutenant Torre suspects the device may have been in the park for a day or more.
“This is the time of year when we typically see a lot of experimentation – ‘explosive experimenters’ if you will,” said Lt. Torre.
Roberta Golden – Connor’s grandmother – says her grandson’s leg had to be amputated from the knee down.
“One thing that Connor had told his father is that it didn’t feel like a firework that he had stepped on,” said Roberta.