Delta Air Lines has confirmed that a first officer, Jonathan J. Dunn, is no longer employed by the airline following an incident during a flight in August 2022. Dunn was indicted on October 18 and charged with interfering with a flight crew. The Transportation Department’s inspector general stated that Dunn threatened to shoot the captain after a disagreement over diverting the flight to assist a passenger with a medical issue.
According to the brief indictment in federal district court in Utah, Dunn “did use a dangerous weapon in assaulting and intimidating the crew member.” His authority to carry a gun on board had been revoked by federal officials. Dunn was authorized by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) to carry a gun under a program created after the September 2001 terror attacks to enhance cockpit security.
The TSA promptly removed Dunn from the program and confiscated his equipment upon learning of his actions. Pilots who participate in the program must undergo vetting, attend training at a federal law enforcement center in New Mexico, and pass regular firearms tests. Interference with a flight crew is a felony punishable by up to 20 years in prison.
Dunn is scheduled to be arraigned on November 16 in U.S. district court in Salt Lake City. The U.S. Attorney’s Office in Salt Lake City declined to comment further on the case.
This incident comes shortly after another incident involving a passenger attempting to shut down the engines of a Horizon Air jet midflight. Joseph David Emerson of Pleasant Hill, California, pleaded not guilty to charges of attempted murder and interference with a flight crew.
These incidents have sparked renewed debate about the mental health screening process for pilots and the reliance on self-disclosure regarding mental health issues during regular medical exams.