33 years on: what happened to the Zip Gun Bomber?

Wess Haubrich
15 min readMay 1, 2023

Five mail bomb packages were delivered to five different recipients in the five boroughs who did not know each other. 25 years later, the mystery is even more compelling.

Joan Kipp circa 1982

He was toiling away in his yard when Howard Kipps’ eardrums exploded

like a flock of birds unwittingly finding the thrust over a running jet

engine.

His adrenaline pumping full-speed, Howard ran into his well-kept

middle-class house in a quiet area of Bay Ridge, Brooklyn. What he saw

shocked him to his core.

Local records show the Kipp house how it would’ve looked from 1980–1988.

There on the kitchen floor clutching her chest was his wife, 54-year old

guidance counselor Joan Kipp. Billows of blood poured onto the

linoleum floor usually kept busy by the flurry of her activity as she

cooked for family and friends.

His mind reeling, Howard picked his wife up and rushed her to the living

room couch before calling 9–1–1.

“Howard!,” Joan cried, her retinas wide and staring powerfully, “look

what they did to me”… her voice then begun trailing off as she slipped into

unconsciousness, “…there may be others.”

Joan Kipp had no idea just how many unanswered questions her final

words uttered in the family home would birth, as a faceless psychopath

terrorized the five boroughs of New York City for over a decade and left

Joan Kipp circa 1982.

investigators without a clue almost 40 years after this murderous

odyssey is set in motion that May day.

I. The Kipps: The Investigation Begins.

Joan Kipp died that Friday in May of 1982 on the operating table of a

local hospital. One of the two .22 caliber rounds that struck her drifted

close enough to her heart to be lethal.

--

--

Wess Haubrich

Horror, crime, noir with a distinctly southwestern tinge. Staff writer, former contributing editor; occultist; anthropologist of symbols.