Updated at 5:35 PM EDT:
…the explosion in Central Park near Fifth Avenue and East 62nd Street was caused by an ‘experiment’ of fireworks or a homemade device. There is no evidence suggesting that the explosion was terror-related.
The victim who was severely injured has been identified as 18-year-old Connor Golden from Fairfax, Virginia. Golden was walking with two friends when he stepped on something and it blew up, according to witnesses.
Police said witnesses told them the man had just stepped onto a rock when an explosion occurred. People in the area said the explosion was heard blocks away.
Police are still trying to determine who the device belonged to. The victim and his friends were cleared, and officers said they were innocent victims. The device had been left in Central Park for approximately one day.
Earlier today a young man from Virginia, while walking through Central Park, stepped on something that exploded. It is unclear from the news reports so far what the cause of the explosion was. The young man was taken to hospital for treatment as the reports indicate that the explosion may have nearly severed one of his feet. Early estimates are that it was fireworks related, however, the injured man’s friends indicated that they did not have any fireworks with them.
Authorities say the accident is likely fireworks-related, given that Monday is the 4th of July.
There was a bag or a wrapping of what appears to be from fireworks recovered nearby.
Hinds insists that he, Golden, and a third friend with them, Matthew Stabile, did not have fireworks.
“This was definitely not a firecracker. The police were understandably going at us hard asking about firecrackers because the idea that there would be some sort of bomb in Central Park is really scary,” said Hinds.
He said the group had been planning to go upstate to go camping.
As is the case with all of these types of events, the information being released – simply what we (think we) know – is sketchy and fluid. As details emerge over the course of the investigation we should have a better idea of the cause of the explosion.