ATLANTA- A former co-pilot employed by Delta Air Lines (DL) has been indicted at the federal level this month, with allegations of making threats to shoot the captain of a commercial flight in the event of a diversion due to a potential passenger medical emergency last year, as confirmed by authorities on Tuesday.
Based on court documents acquired by CBS News, Jonathan Dunn was indicted by a Utah grand jury on October 18 with one count of interference with a flight crew.
Former Delta Pilot with A Gun
The purported incident took place on a flight that occurred on August 22, 2022, as disclosed by the Department of Transportation’s inspector general’s office in a news release on Tuesday.
The report did not specify the airline that operated the flight, its origin, or destination. Nevertheless, a Delta Air Lines spokesperson verified to CBS News that at the time of the incident, Dunn was serving as a Delta first officer for Delta Airlines.
According to the inspector general, Dunn, who was the co-pilot, had a “disagreement” with the captain regarding the potential diversion of the flight “due to a passenger medical event.”
Subsequently, Dunn allegedly threatened the captain, indicating they would be shot multiple times if the flight was to be diverted, as stated by the inspector general.
Authorization to Carry Weapon
Dunn possessed authorization to carry a firearm as a participant in the Transportation Safety Administration’s Federal Flight Deck Officer program, as confirmed by the inspector general.
Under this program, Federal flight deck officers, who are airline pilots, are granted permission by the TSA to carry firearms in the cockpit during domestic flights.
They receive specialized training for this role and are equipped with a TSA-issued weapon intended to safeguard the flight deck against potential hijackings.
The two-page indictment, which CBS News obtained on Tuesday, alleges that Dunn “assaulted and intimidated a crew member of an aircraft and employed a dangerous weapon in doing so.”
In response to the matter, a Transportation Security Administration spokesperson conveyed on Tuesday evening that the TSA is aware of an incident involving a Federal Flight Deck Officer.
The agency disclosed that Dunn had been expelled from the FFDO program but refrained from providing further details due to the ongoing investigation.
Delta Airlines issued a statement to CBS News on Tuesday evening, indicating that Dunn is no longer in the employ of the airline and opting to withhold additional comments pending the investigation.
Felicia Martinez, serving as a spokesperson for the U.S. Attorney’s office for the District of Utah, conveyed in a statement to CBS News that “at this point in the case, we are limited in the amount of information we can disclose to avoid compromising the case’s integrity.”
Dunn’s arraignment is set to take place on November 16.
The inspector general’s office stated that it is receiving support from both the FBI and the Federal Aviation Administration as part of its investigative efforts.
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