Utah victim recalls ‘Unabomber’ bomb that injured him in 1987
Jun 10, 2023, 5:09 PM | Updated: 5:25 pm
SALT LAKE CITY — The man known as “The Unabomber” has died. Ted Kaczynski, 81, was found dead in his North Carolina prison cell by guards Saturday morning.
He was serving four consecutive life sentences for killing three people and injuring nearly two dozen more with homemade bombs that became one of the FBI’s longest and most expensive investigations ever, stretching more than 17 years.
One of Kaczynski’s victims is Gary Wright, who lived in Salt Lake City in the 1980s. Wright noticed something unusual behind a computer store in 1987.
“The device I saw was two, two-by-fours with nails protruding out of it,” Wright recalled.
When Wright bent down to pick it up, the device exploded. He survived but needed a dozen surgeries to recover. That bomb was one of Kaczynski’s homemade bombs.
In 2020, Wright took KSL to the building where it exploded.
“It’s strange, after all these years, you still have shrapnel marks, the debris from the bomb had entered into the cinderblock of the building,” he said while pointing to indentations in the concrete blocks. “I feel pretty lucky to at least be telling the story.”
Kaczynski wasn’t found until the FBI asked newspapers to publish his manifesto in 1995, hoping it would generate new leads.
One of those leads was Kaczynski’s brother, David, who recognized the style of writing and reported him to the FBI. That led investigators to Kaczynski’s home in Montana, where he was arrested in 1996.
“It wouldn’t have been right to allow him to hurt anyone else, he had to be stopped in some way, and that was the only thing I could think to stop him,” said David Kaczynski during an archived interview.
David Kaczynski later contacted Wright.
“He just said, ‘Look, I am calling, I’m David Kaczynski. I want to apologize on behalf of my family for what happened to you,” Wright said.
The two became good friends. They even traveled together to tell the story at seminars.
Now, with Ted Kaczynski’s death, it is a friendship that will continue.
“We have stayed close,” Wright said. “It has been a good relationship for both of us, I think.”