A former Delta fist officer has been indicted for using a firearm to interfere with the operation of a commercial airline flight. Photo by Bill Greenblatt/UPI | License Photo
Nov. 2 (UPI) -- A former Delta Air Lines pilot, who the U.S. Department of Transportation said used a firearm to threaten a captain and intimidate a flight crew, is no longer with the air carrier and was indicted for interfering with the operation of a commercial airline flight.
The DOT investigation found that Jonathan J. Dunn, who was a first officer, used a gun and threatened to shoot the captain of a flight in August 2022 and used a "dangerous weapon" to assault and intimidate a member of the flight crew during another incident, according to an indictment in Utah.
Delta said Dunn is no longer employed with the airline and Delta declined to elaborate further on the incidents, including whether there were any injuries.
According to the Transportation Department's Office of Inspector General, Dunn threatened to shoot the captain "multiple times" if the flight was diverted due to a passenger's emergency medical condition.
"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 department said in a statement.
The air carrier said Dunn is from California but did not provide further details on the circumstances of the incidents.
Dunn was permitted to carry a firearm in an airplane's cockpit as part of a Transportation Security Administration program enacted following the Sept. 11 attacks.
Under the federal flight deck officer program, pilots are allowed to use guns "to defend against an act of criminal violence and air piracy while attempting to gain control of an aircraft," according to the TSA, which said it covers the cost of the training and equipment.
The TSA said Dunn was removed from its program and officials confiscated his firearm.
It did not say if similar instances have occurred with other pilots in the flight deck officer program.
The agency said pilots are thoroughly vetted before being selected for the program and must maintain continuing education programs and earn regular firearms certifications.
The Federal Aviation Administration said Dunn "does not have a current FAA medical certificate, which is required for flying."
Dunn is scheduled to be arraigned Nov. 16.
The TSA said in a statement Wednesday it was "aware" of last year's incident, but did not comment further.
"Out of respect for the ongoing aviation authority investigation of this incident, Delta will refrain from commenting on this matter but will confirm that this First Officer is no longer employed at Delta," the company said in a statement.