A California pilot has been indicted for allegedly threatening to shoot a flight’s captain if he diverted the flight because of a passenger medical issue.
Jonathan J. Dunn was indicted on Oct. 18 for interfering with the crew of a commercial airline flight, the U.S. Department of Transportation's Office of the Inspector General said in a news release.
The incident unfolded on Aug. 22, 2022, when Dunn was the crew’s first officer.
“After a disagreement about a potential flight diversion due to a passenger medical event, Dunn told the captain they would be shot multiple times if the captain diverted the flight,” the statement said.
The indictment said that 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.”
He was authorized to carry a firearm through the Transportation Security Administration’s Federal Flight Deck Officer (FFDO) program, authorities said.
Under the program, FFDOs are authorized by the Transportation Security Administration to carry their TSA-issued firearm and equipment onboard an aircraft to defend the flight deck against criminal violence or air piracy. Dunn has been removed from the program, the TSA said.
The DOT’s Office of the Inspector General is conducting the investigation with the FBI, with assistance from the Federal Aviation Administration.
Delta said Dunn is no longer employed at the airline.
No further details on the flight were shared.
It was not immediately clear if Dunn had a lawyer.
The news comes just a week after an off-duty Alaska Airlines pilot, Joseph Emerson, was charged with more than 80 counts of attempted murder after he allegedly tried to shut down the plane’s engines while sitting in the cockpit of a flight from Washington state to San Francisco.
In that case, Emerson told investigators he had taken psychedelic mushrooms 48 hours before the incident, that he had been depressed, and that he believed he was experiencing a mental breakdown. An attorney for Emerson entered a plea of not guilty last week.