Tactical

Former airline, military pilot indicted for alleged cockpit threat

A grand jury issued an indictment on Oct. 18 against a former Delta pilot for allegedly interfering with the crew of a commercial airline flight in August 2022.

Jonathan J. Dunn, a Air Force veteran, was indicted in the U.S. District Court for the District of Utah for allegedly using a dangerous weapon to assault and intimidate a flight captain, according to a news release from the U.S. Department of Transportation’s inspector general office and court documents reviewed by Military Times. The incident occurred while Dunn served as 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 release stated. Dunn was authorized to carry a firearm in his role, it added.

Dunn previously made headlines as an Air Force Reserve lieutenant colonel who challenged the Air Force for disciplining him over his refusal to take the COVID-19 vaccine on religious grounds, CBS News reported. The outlet added the nation’s top court ruled against his request for a religious exemption.

Delta confirmed to Military Times that Dunn is no longer employed at the company but did not comment further because of the ongoing aviation authority investigation of the incident.

Interference with a flight crew is a felony punishable by up to 20 years in prison, according to the Associated Press. An arraignment for Dunn is currently scheduled for November 16.

“At this stage in the case, we don’t have a lot of information to share without jeopardizing the integrity of the case,” Felicia Martinez, a spokesperson for the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Utah, told Military Times.

Dunn was reportedly commissioned in the Air Force in 2003 and flew combat tours in Afghanistan, according to court documents. He left active duty for the Air Force Reserve in 2014, and later took command of the 452d Contingency Response Squadron in August 2021, the court documents added.

Military Times reached out to the Air Force to confirm Dunn’s service record but was not immediately able to verify the CBS News report.

The Department of Transportation’s inspector general office is conducting an investigation with the FBI, with assistance from Federal Aviation Administration.

Court records did not appear at this time to list representation for Dunn.

Jonathan is a staff writer and editor of the Early Bird Brief newsletter for Military Times. Follow him on Twitter @lehrfeld_media

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