Co-Pilot Charged With Threatening to Shoot Captain Mid-Flight

Jonathan Dunn faces up to 20 years in prison on charge of interfering with flight crew on 2022 flight
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 1, 2023 9:03 AM CDT
Delta Pilot Allegedly Threatened to Shoot Captain Mid-Flight
A Delta Airlines pilot wears a face mask as he walks through a terminal at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport in Atlanta, on Thursday, Feb. 18, 2021.   (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel, File)

As Delta passengers sipped coffee and stared at screens, the pilots steering their plane were engaged in an argument that resulted in one allegedly threatening to shoot the other. Jonathan Dunn, a former Delta co-pilot, was federally indicted Oct. 18 on a charge of interference with flight crew after allegedly threatening to shoot his captain with a gun he had with him. The captain potentially wanted to divert the Aug. 22, 2022, flight "due to a passenger medical event," but Dunn "told the captain they would be shot multiple times" if the flight was diverted, the Transportation Department's inspector general's office said Tuesday, per CBS News.

Dunn was authorized to carry a gun as a federal flight deck officer (FFDO), a pilot who undergoes special training to be able to defend the flight deck as part of a Transportation Security Administration program created in response to the 9/11 terrorist attacks, per Insider. Dunn "did assault and intimidate a crew member of an aircraft, thereby interfering with the performance of the duties of the crew member and lessening the ability of the crew member to perform those duties, and did use a dangerous weapon in assaulting and intimidating the crew member," the indictment reads, per NBC News.

The California pilot was indicted by a Utah grand jury and is due to be arraigned Nov. 16. "At this stage in the case, we don't have a lot of information to share without jeopardizing the integrity of the case," a rep for the US Attorney's Office for the District of Utah tells CBS. The inspector general's office didn't identify the airline. However, a Delta Air Lines rep confirmed Dunn was working for the airline as a first officer in August 2022. He is no longer employed, the rep said. He was also removed from the FFDO program. He faces up to 20 years in prison if convicted, per the AP. (Another pilot faces 83 counts of attempted murder after a reported mental breakdown.)

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