A 52-year-old unidentified New York prison guard was seriously burned today after he picked up a package near his home that exploded. He is currently hospitalized and in stable condition. His injuries include burns on his hands and arms. Authorities are not yet certain whether the attack was related to the man's work, and the investigation is ongoing.According to CBS New York, the corrections officer found a package near his mailbox on Old Floyd Road around 8 a.m. The box exploded when he tried to open it. The guard resides in the New York town of Floyd, a city near Utica and a prison in Marcy. The town has a population of about 3,800 people. Residents were stunned over the incident.
Floyd is located in Oneida County, which is also home to three medium-security prisons.
Governor Andrew Cuomo called the explosion "horrific."
Oneida County Sheriff Robert Maciol made a statement about the investigation at a news conference.
"There are a lot of unanswered questions. And we're confident that with all of us working together, we can figure out who did this."Neighbor Patricia Westscott said that the explosion sounded "like a bomb." She said that she opened her door, could hear screaming, and then she heard sirens.
Yet another neighbor told CNN that the explosion sounded like "two cars hitting head-on."
NBC News writes that the investigation is being conducted through a multi-agency effort that includes the FBI and the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.
Local and state agencies are also involved in the coordinated effort to track down the perpetrators of the attack.
The guard was initially taken to St. Elizabeth Medical Center in Utica for his injuries and then was transported to SUNY Upstate Medical University Hospital in Syracuse, according to CNN.
Law enforcement officers asked residents to remain in their homes after the explosion while they combed the area to make sure that no further threats to the community existed. The area was closed off for several hours as they made their sweep. Dogs and other means were used to verify whether any other explosive devices were in place.
Governor Cuomo commented on the incident to the press.
"The state of New York has no tolerance for any violence of this sort, and I have ordered a full investigation to find those responsible for this horrific incident. On behalf of all New Yorkers, our thoughts and prayers are with this correction officer and his family during this difficult time, and we join them in hoping for a full and speedy recovery."Representatives from the State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision have not yet made an official statement in regards to the incident and are referring all inquiries directly to the Governor's office.
James Miller, a spokesman for the New York State Correctional Officers & Police Benevolent Association, spoke to Syracuse and thanked the Governor for all of his support and for the resources that were being channeled towards ensuring that the ones responsible for the violent act will be brought to justice.
"This tragic incident is a stark reminder of the grave dangers our corrections officers face on a daily basis."Sheriff Maciol would not release any additional details about the explosive device, only saying that it was clear that it had been intentionally placed near the home. The investigation continues to be ongoing, and the corrections officer remains in stable condition.
It is not yet clear when, or if, authorities will release the name of the victim.
Anyone with information or tips that may lead to the capture of those responsible is asked to call (315) 765-2237.
[Image via Twitter]