Co-Pilot Threatens to Shoot Captain During Commercial Flight

A former Delta co-pilot was federally indicted earlier this month, accused of threatening to shoot the captain of a commercial flight last year if he diverted the plane because a passenger on board may have been suffering a medical emergency, authorities confirmed Tuesday.

According to court documents obtained by CBS News, on Oct. 18 a Utah grand jury indicted Jonathan Dunn with one count of interference with a flight crew.

The purported incident occurred on an Aug. 22, 2022, flight, the Department of Transportation’s inspector general’s office said in a news release Tuesday, but did not specify the airline where the flight originated from, or its destination. However, a Delta Air Lines spokesperson confirmed to CBS News that Dunn was working for Delta as a Delta first officer at the time of the incident. 

According to the inspector general, Dunn, the co-pilot, had “a disagreement” with the captain, who wanted to potentially divert the flight “due to a passenger medical event.”

Dunn then allegedly “told the captain they would be shot multiple times” if the flight was diverted, the inspector general said.

Officials did not provide any further details on how the situation played out.

Dunn was authorized to carry a gun as part of the Transportation Safety Administration’s Federal Flight Deck Officer program, the inspector general said. Federal flight deck officers are airline pilots authorized by the TSA to be armed in the cockpit on domestic flights. They undergo special training to do so and are provided with a TSA-issued weapon to defend the flight deck against an attempted hijacking. 

The two-page indictment, obtained by CBS News Tuesday, alleges that Dunn “did assault and intimidate a crew member of an aircraft…and did use a dangerous weapon in assaulting and intimidating the crew member.”

In a statement Tuesday evening, a spokesperson for the Transportation Security Administration told CBS News, “TSA is aware of an incident involving a Federal Flight Deck Officer.” 

The agency says Dunn has been removed from the FFDO program, but could not comment further due to the “pending investigation.”

Delta told CBS News in a statement Tuesday evening that Dunn was no longer employed by the airline and refrained from commenting further pending the investigation.

Felicia Martinez, a spokesperson for the U.S. Attorney’s office for the District of Utah, also told CBS News in a statement that “at this stage in the case, we don’t have a lot of information to share without jeopardizing the integrity of the case.”

Dunn is scheduled to be arraigned on Nov. 16.  

The inspector general’s office said it is getting assistance from the FBI and the Federal Aviation Administration in its investigation.

The FAA and FBI declined to comment.

It is not immediately clear if Dunn has a lawyer representing him ahead of his scheduled arraignment.

On Oct. 22, authorities allege that an off-duty Alaska Airlines pilot tried to shut off a plane’s engines during a commercial flight from Everett, Washington, to San Francisco, California. The suspect, Joseph Emerson, has been charged with 83 counts of attempted murder.

3 thoughts on “Co-Pilot Threatens to Shoot Captain During Commercial Flight

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  1. Is it not amazing that people with a gun suddenly feel all powerful and tend to try to intimidate others?

    I have a CWL in Florida *where is no longer necessary. It amazed me how easy it was for the state to give a person the license to carry a weapon designed to kill other people. In spite of that, I do not normally carry a firearm

    1. I too have a Concealed Weapon or Firearm License in Florida, as do family members, friends and acquaintances, and I can say with conviction that NONE of us “suddenly feel all powerful and tend to intimidate others.” Perhaps YOU feel that way and if so, that’s a problem YOU need to address, but you shouldn’t try to project YOUR issues onto others. The RIGHT to keep and bear arms is guaranteed in the US Constitution, in spite of various States attempts to hijack that right, and was created to give the citizenry the ability to protect against an out of control, tyrannical government, with the operative word being “protect.” Yes, firearms can kill people, but so can knives, clubs, cars and rocks. (which, by the way, kill FAR more people each year than guns)

  2. Exactly right it’s in the Constitution that We have the right to have arms, period. Those that try take away that right , nothing less than Tyranny !

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