Co-pilot accused of threatening to shoot captain during flight

A grand jury in Utah has indicted the co-pilot of a commercial flight after he allegedly threatened to shoot the captain if they diverted the plane due to a passenger’s medical issue.

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Jonathan J. Dunn was indicted Oct. 18 on a federal charge of interference with a flight crew, court records show. The grand jury said Dunn assaulted and intimidated an aircraft crew member using a dangerous weapon.

On Aug. 22, 2022, Dunn was the first officer, or co-pilot, on a flight when he and the captain got into a disagreement over a possible flight diversion prompted by a medical event a passenger was experiencing, according to the Department of Transportation’s Office of Inspector General.

“Dunn told the Captain they would be shot multiple times if the Captain diverted the flight,” the inspector general’s office said.

It was not immediately clear what the issue was or whether the flight was diverted.

Dunn was authorized to carry a firearm through the Transportation Security Administration’s Federal Flight Deck Officer program, officials said. The program, established in 2003, allows the TSA to deputize volunteer pilots and flight crewmembers “to defend the flight deck of commercial aircraft from takeover,” according to authorities.

Dunn is no longer part of the program, TSA officials told NBC News.

Authorities did not share more information about the flight that prompted charges against Dunn. A spokesperson for Delta Air Lines confirmed to CBS News that Dunn was working as a first officer for the airline at the time of the incident, and that he was no longer employed by the company as of Tuesday.

Dunn is scheduled to appear in court for an arraignment on Nov. 16.