Police Say Central Park Explosion Caused By 'Someone Experimenting' With TATP

A plastic bag and matchbook were about the only pieces of evidence left after a tourist stepped on an explosive in Central Park over Fourth of July weekend. Police say that the results from an examination of that evidence reveal traces of TATP, or triacetone triperoxide—an extremely explosive material.

"These substances, which are commonly and legally available for sale in certain hardware stores, can be used in combination with other products to develop a home-made explosive agent," reads a statement released by the NYPD. "Based on the crime scene investigation and the forensic examination, it is believed that this explosive material was made by someone experimenting with commercially available products.”

The incident happened when Connor Golden, 19, was in the park with two friends near Fifth Avenue when he jumped off a rock and landed on a plastic bag with the material inside, causing it to detonate. The teenager’s grandparents, who spoke with NBC News, say Golden’s foot was amputated below the knee, and he is in stable condition at Bellevue Hospital in Manhattan. 

NYPD Lieutenant Mark Torre, commanding officer of the bomb squad, said nothing indicates that the explosive bag was placed in the park with an intent to harm people, and it was not a “constructed IED”—improvised explosive device.

"What seems likely at this point is that we have…an explosive hobbyist or an experimenter," Torre told reporters. "I believe we have somebody that made this material and then he wanted to test it." 

The NYPD Detective Bureau is continuing to investigate the case, and offering a reward of up to $10,000 to anyone with information leading to the arrest and indictment of the person, or people, responsible for the crime.

It might seem obvious, but people shouldn’t experiment with homemade fireworks, says Phil Grucci, owner of Fireworks by Grucci, a New York-based family-owned company spanning six generations.

“They’re no joke,” he told the Voice. “Professional, display fireworks go through rigorous testing protocol to make sure they meet safety standards—but anyone buying bootleg fireworks and illegal explosives could do serious damage and that’s where the danger lies.”

Parents of chorus students at Oaktown High School, Connor Golden's alma mater, launched a GoFundMe site to help his family with medical expenses. According to an update made July 14, the campaign is now looking to raise $75,000 in support of Golden's recovery, and an infection following a second surgery.


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