The Central Park bombing seemingly has been forgotten by officials, leaving it as a dead cold case as the nation amps up its mission to stop terror attacks. Connor Golden was visiting Central Park in New York City in 2016 when he happened to step on an explosive left in a bag waiting for a victim. Although the TATP explosive material is known for terrorist bombings little results have been shown from investigation – leaving it to be forgotten along with the leg that Golden lost.
Summer Weekend Outing Turned into a Terrorist Cold Case
It was the summer of 2016 and Golden had finished his freshman year at the University of Miami. The Virginia native was happy to be spending the summer catching up with friends from high school heading for a camping trip in Upstate NY. Unfortunately, fate intervened when the friends decided to spend that July 4 weekend visiting the city before their camping excursion.
At approximately 10 a.m. Saturday, July 3, Golden and his two friends walked into Central Park at the 60th Street and 5th Ave entrance. They were out to seek a location to do some slacklining – walking tight-rope style on a line strung up between two trees.
The young men climbed upon rocks near the zoo at 62nd Street and 5th Ave as small children played close by. In a moment, life was changed when an explosive claimed Golden’s lower left leg as he stepped down onto the bag that it was hidden in.
Although not confirmed as a terrorist attack, the explosive material used in the Central Park bombing was TATP – the same known to be used in Manchester, Paris and other numerous other terrorist bombings. TATP, also referred to as “The Mother of Satan,” is so volatile that the perpetrator risks their own life and limb to make and transport it.
The use of TATP should have been key in the New York Police Department (NYPD) seeking to solve this case right away. Instead, the evidence was not revealed for two years and the event was swept away as a mere fireworks mishap leaving it as a cold case.
Central Park Bombing Probable Terrorist Activity Revealed
In a city known as Ground Zero for 9/11, it is troubling that it took two full years from the date of the explosion to release a key piece of evidence to the public. The specific evidence was a photo of the type of bag the bomb was in.
The small bakery bag, from LaUnica bakery with locations in Union City and Jersey City, had not been in use by the business for approximately seven years at the time of the explosion. This was an indication that someone deliberately had a stockpile of these bags – and possibly thoughts of future additional bombings.
Without revealing this evidence, the police and NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio were quick to mischaracterized the event in the media – stating that it was merely a fireworks mishap or the work of a hobbyist. This neglect of exposure placated visitors from avoiding planned NYC 4th of July activities.
Just three days later, on July 6, Pokémon Go game was released and thousands of people swarmed Central Park seeking to catch a Pokémon as they stared down at phones. A Pokémon character located close to the site of the Central Park bombing proved how many stare at phones oblivious to their surroundings, particularly while playing the game.
It has been realized that many crimes were committed during the early days of the Pokémon Go release with criminals taking advantage of people not paying attention. Golden’s mother, Carol Golden, has researched the release of Pokémon Go. She discovered that there was a beta period where people could try out the game before the release to the public on July 6 also allowing players to put in requests for the location of Pokémon. Carol has brought this up many times to the NYPD.
Urge to Have FBI Take Over to Solve Central Park Bombing
It is not known how far the NYPD has not followed through on investigating a possible connection to the Pokémon game. Downplay of the incident by law enforcement has hampered the development of leads from public assistance, as well as media coverage. Immediately interest was quickly lost and the incident was sent into cold case oblivion.
With no arrests made the criminal or criminals responsible are still at large. A change.org petition supports replacing the NYPD with the FBI as the lead investigative agency to investigate the 2016 Central Park explosion as an act of terrorism.
To get the public involved in solving the Central Park bombing is a $40K reward being offered by state and federal law enforcement. New information is being sought to catch the perpetrator or perpetrators.
Social Media Campaign Launched to Raise Awareness
Golden’s mother has launched a social media campaign to raise awareness of the unsolved Central Park bombing case that occurred over three years ago. The campaign leverages publicity surrounding the release of the Clint Eastwood movie, “Richard Jewel.” The movie is based on the bombing in Centennial Olympic Park during the 1996 summer Olympics in Atlanta, Georgia.
“Richard Jewel” showcases a sad parallel of circumstances to the Central Park bombing. The fact that the Central Park bombing took place after 9/11 one would think law enforcement would have been even more compelled to take it seriously.
Both the Centennial Olympic Park incident and the Central Park explosion involve bombing and severe injuries in a public park. Both occurred amid big events –Centennial Olympic Park during Olympics and Central Park bombing July 4th weekend. Even the names of the parks are similar – Centennial and Central.
The heroic security guard Richard Jewell had been wrongly accused of having placed the bomb himself after saving many from injury and death. Similar to Jewell, in the immediate aftermath of the Central Park bombing law enforcement treated Golden and his friends as prime suspects.
After going unsolved for multiple years Centennial was finally solved after five years. The Central Park explosion remains unsolved, with no new leads, still over three years later.
Carol Golden states regarding her social media campaign:
“We are so incredibly proud of our son Connor. He will be graduating this month from the U Frost Music School with a degree in Music Engineering and a minor in Computer Engineering. Thank you to all that have provided encouragement & support since Connor was severely injured in the unsolved #CentralParkExplosion the summer after Connor’s freshman year at the U.
“Social Media Campaign Request:
“Help solve a cold case and get the perpetrator off the streets. Post publicly to your social media accounts, personalizing your connection to Connor, on the weekends during the month of December. In addition to posting, please pass this request on to friends or family who live or work in the NYC and NJ areas.
For a link to a ‘Social Media Toolkit’ and sample posts and photos, see latest update on: https://www.gofundme.com/f/ConnorGoldenFund”
Bombing Remains Unsolved as Golden Graduates College
Golden shows true strength as he has continued his life trek since the day of the Central Park bombing that caused his leg to be amputated just below the knee. He and his family have placed their focus on getting the recent college graduate back to health and resuming his active lifestyle as much as possible.
It has been slow and steady progress in adapting to life without a limb for Golden. Along with being an Eagle Scout and avid outdoorsman, Golden is an accomplished vocalist, musician, music writer and producer. Before his injury, Golden enjoyed the outdoor hobbies of snow and water skiing, windsurfing, scuba diving, rock climbing, hiking, and camping.
Golden has shown true courage and perseverance managing to complete his studies at the University of Miami. He graduates in December 2019 with a bachelor of science degree in Music Engineering Technology with a Computer Engineering minor.
This amazingly courageous and strong young man deserves to have his case solved. For Golden and his family to move on, and the public to feel protected, it is vital that law enforcement forge ahead to solve the Central Park bombing immediately.