The friends of the teenaged tourist who lost his leg after stepping on what police believe was a homemade firecracker have launched a GoFundMe site in hopes of helping his family afford his medical care.
North Virginia native Connor Golden, who turns 19 today, was climbing on rocks in Central Park during a visit to NYC last weekend when he stepped on the firework, which blew up and mangled his left foot. Golden's lower left leg was later amputated; he is currently recuperating at Bellevue Hospital.
As first reported by ABC 7, The University of Miami student's family released a long statement regarding the incident and his recovery:
In response to the tremendous outpouring of support for our son, Connor Golden, after he lost his left foot and lower left leg from stepping on explosives in Central Park over the July 4th weekend, we and our family would like to express our deepest gratitude to the many individuals and institutions that have expressed concern for him and provided invaluable assistance and support since this tragedy.
Connor was visiting NYC from his home in Northern Virginia to be with close friends from high school and the University of Miami's Frost School of Music, where he currently is a sophomore studying music engineering. On July 3, while recreating in Central Park with his friends, he stepped on powerful explosives located in the southeast area of the park. The exact nature of the explosives and circumstances surrounding their presence in the park are under active investigation by the New York Police Department (NYPD) and federal law enforcement authorities. We understand that the NYPD is offering a cash reward of $2,500 for information shedding light on circumstances leading to the incident.
Connor was taken to nearby NYC Health + Hospitals/Bellevue for treatment. The damage to Connor's left foot and lower leg from the explosion was severe, and surgeons at Bellevue Hospital were forced to perform two operations to implement a below-the-knee amputation. The second operation was completed on Wednesday, July 6. Connor is currently recovering from the amputation at Bellevue Hospital. He is in good condition and as soon as his doctors say he can be released, he plans to return to Northern Virginia for follow-up treatment and recovery.
Connor, who will be 19 on Saturday, July 9th, is an accomplished vocalist, keyboardist, composer and music producer. He was pursuing his musical interests with his friends while visiting New York City. He is a vibrant young man and an avid outdoorsman who enjoys hiking, rock climbing, scuba diving, snow skiing and windsurfing. He is also committed to community service and earned the rank of Eagle Scout with the Boy Scouts. We are saddened that, on a weekend to celebrate our nation's freedoms, he suffered loss of limb and the associated freedom to pursue these and other endeavors.
We - Connor and his family - would like to express our appreciation for the medical assistance provided in the moments following the explosion in Central Park by NYC's famously great first responders, without whose support Connor may not have survived the explosion. We are also deeply indebted to John Murphy and two unidentified Good Samaritans who were in the park at the time of the explosion and rapidly came to Connor's side. They quickly applied a tourniquet to Connor's leg using a men's clothing belt worn by one of Connor's friends. Their bravery and clear-headedness in a moment of crisis may well have saved Connor's life.
Connor is being treated at NYC Health + Hospitals/Bellevue. We are grateful for the care and treatment that Connor has received from the hospital's wonderful medical staff. We especially want to thank Dr. Chad Wilson, Dr. Toni McLaurin, Dr. Spiros Frangos, Dr. J. David Roccaforte, and the rest of the world-class surgical and orthopedic teams that performed Connor's surgery and cared for him in intensive care, as well as the Bellevue nursing staff, which has provided exceptional 24/7 comfort and care. The Goldens are also appreciative of the hospital's vigilance in protecting Connor's privacy throughout his stay at the hospital.
Connor has been providing his full cooperation to law enforcement as they investigate this incident. We would like to thank the NYPD and federal law enforcement authorities for their diligence in their continuing investigation and generous offer of support to help them through this ordeal.
We are humbled and profoundly touched by the enormous outpouring of love, prayers and support from family and friends, fellow Hurricanes from the University of Miami, the residents and public officials of New York City and the public at large. We would especially like to thank Boy Scout Troop 160, parents of Oakton High School chorus students, the administration of the University of Miami, Thompson Greenspon and 3Pillar Global, Inc. for their generous support during this challenging time.
The family added that the parents of chorus students at Oakton High School, Golden's alma mater, launched the aforementioned GoFundMe page, which seeks to provide the family with $50K. As of this afternoon, they've raised over $14K.
After investigating last Sunday's incident, cops ruled out any terrorism connections, believing that the device was a homemade firecracker someone intended to set off. The head of the NYPD bomb squad told reporters someone "made this material and then he wanted to test it...but in order to test a larger amount, you have to go somewhere. Somewhere might be your back yard. If someone lives in that vicinity, their backyard is Central Park."