A suspicious package left by a prison guard’s mailbox exploded and seriously burned him when he opened it, authorities said Sunday as they worked to determine who sent it and why.
The 52-year-old officer was severely injured, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said, in an explosion that stunned the small central New York town of Floyd. Cuomo called the blast “horrific,” and local, state and federal agencies were investigating whether the blast was related to the victim’s work.
“There are a lot of unanswered questions,” Oneida County Sheriff Robert Maciol told reporters at a news conference. “And we’re confident that with all of us working together, we can figure out who did this.”
The corrections officer picked up the package around 8:00 a.m. near his mailbox and it blew up as the victim opened it, Maciol said, saying he couldn’t give specifics about the explosive. Authorities aren’t releasing the man’s name. He’s hospitalized in stable condition.
Cuomo planned to visit the victim later Monday after marching in a Memorial Day parade on Long Island.
The explosion shook neighbors in the quiet town of about 3,800, a bedroom community for the old industrial cities of Rome and Utica. It’s also near a prison, in Marcy.
“I heard the loud boom, and I was scared,” resident Patricia Westcott said. “It did sound like a bomb.”
She opened her door and heard screaming, then sirens.
Authorities used automated phone calls to warn some residents to stay indoors as they searched the neighborhood with dogs and other means to make sure it was safe. Maciol said they concluded no other residents were in danger.