Monday, July 18, 2016
Was it a bomb that blew off students foot in Central Park? Was it stored there for a later terrorist attack?
The college student whose foot was blown off during a vacation outing in Central Park believes he “stepped on a bomb,” his still-shaken dad revealed Monday.
Plucky Connor Golden had only one concern as he was rushed into surgery following the shocking blast — when doctors told him he might lose the leg, he said he was OK with that as long as they saved his hands so he could pursue his dream of becoming a professional musician, Kevin Golden said.
The dad said he, his wife and their two other kids were “enjoying a quiet breakfast” on July 3 when Bellevue Hospital Center called and put Connor on the line.
“The first thing he told us after he said that he loved us very much was that he had stepped on a bomb in Central Park,” the older man said during an afternoon news conference at the hospital. “Imagine the shock we had when we heard that.”
Golden, of Fairfax, Va., also began to cry while recalling how a surgeon described Connor’s reaction when he was wheeled into an operating room and told that his left foot might have to be amputated.
“Connor said, ‘It’s OK, just don’t take my hands,’” Golden said.
“He is a musician, and that was the one thought he had at that moment.”
Golden said his son plays a computerized LinnStrument “expressive MIDI controller,” which has 200 note pads that sense finger movements in three dimensions.
His son’s account of being wounded by a bomb was corroborated by one of several Good Samaritans who rushed to help the teen.
“He’s a military person, he recognizes explosions, and he knew immediately that this was not a 4th of July firework, which caused him to run quickly towards the explosion, which is an amazing thing to me,” Golden said.
He didn’t identify the person with whom he spoke.
Connor, a University of Miami student who turned 19 in the hospital, had his left leg amputated below the knee. He’s undergone three surgeries and is still in a great deal of pain, his dad said.
The teen was visiting some college buddies who are working at summer internships in the city, and had been planning to join them on a camping trip to the Adirondacks, his father said.
“We’ve given up trying to make sense of this and we’re just trying to focus on his recovery,” he said.
A GoFundMe online appeal had raised more than $57,000 as of Monday evening to help his family pay his medical bills.
The NYPD last week said the blast was likely caused by an “explosive material…made by someone experimenting with commercially available products,” with reports identifying the substance as TATP, a crystalline powder often used by radical Islamic terrorists.
Officials have said there’s no evidence linking the incident to terrorism and have stopped short of saying it involved a bomb or other explosive device.
The NYPD on Monday said the investigation was continuing and declined to comment on Golden’s remarks.
Additional reporting by Daniel Prendergast