It has emerged that the pilot who was indicted by a Utah Grand Jury on Wednesday on allegations that he pulled a gun on a Captain mid-flight and threatened to shoot them if they diverted the plane due to a medical emergency is currently on active duty as an Air Force Reserve Officer and is deployed in Germany.
First Officer Jonathan J. Dunn is due to be arraigned in federal court on November 16, although it’s unclear whether his court appearance will now have to be delayed due to his ongoing deployment at Ramstein Air Force Base.
According to prosecutors, Dunn allegedly threatened to shoot the Captain “multiple times” during the August 22, 2022 flight after they got into a disagreement about diverting the plane because a passenger was suffering a medical emergency.
Dunn was authorized to carry a firearm on the flight deck as part of a post-9/11 security program known as the Federal Flight Deck Officer scheme. His authorization has now been revoked.
Although the criminal indictment does not name the airline involved in the incident, it is understood that Dunn worked as First Officer for Delta Air Lines on its Airbus A320 fleet. Delta has confirmed that it employed Dunn but that he is no longer working for the Atlanta-based carrier.
A spokesperson for the U.S. Air Forces in Europe has now confirmed to Miltary.com that Dunn is currently on orders as a reserve augmentee to the 603rd Air Operations Center (AOC) at Ramstein Air Base in Germany.
The U.S. Air Force said that Dunn was “in qualification training to serve in the AOC at the time of the indictment and his absence will not impact the AOC’s daily operations”.
Following the indictment, Dunn had his access to sensitive information, as well as to the center’s facilities, revoked.
Serving as a lieutenant colonel in the Air Force Reserve, Dunn appealed to the Supreme Court last year over military disciplinary action he faced for his refusal to take a COVID-19 vaccine.
Dunn had rejected a military vaccine mandate, arguing it was against his religious beliefs because the way the government had presented the need to have the vaccine had taken on a “sacramental quality”.
“That makes COVID-19 vaccination a religious ritual required as a condition of participating fully in civil society,” Dunn argued. “After much prayer, applicant [Dunn] concluded that he cannot participate in such a religious ritual— and thus cannot take the vaccine — because, as a Christian, he must render worship to God only.”
The Supreme Court, however, dismissed the case, although the ruling was issued without comment.
Mateusz Maszczynski honed his skills as an international flight attendant at the most prominent airline in the Middle East and has been flying throughout the COVID-19 pandemic for a well-known European airline. Matt is passionate about the aviation industry and has become an expert in passenger experience and human-centric stories. Always keeping an ear close to the ground, Matt's industry insights, analysis and news coverage is frequently relied upon by some of the biggest names in journalism.