An Air Force Reserve lieutenant colonel who was relieved of command for refusing the COVID-19 vaccine is accused of threatening to shoot a commercial airline captain if they diverted their flight to give a passenger medical attention.
The pilot in question, Jonathan J. Dunn, came to light in a Utah U.S. Attorney’s Office filing, where a judge was asked to delay his arraignment to allow time for the U.S. military to bring him back from overseas.
Dunn was indicted on October 18 and charged with interfering with a flight crew over the alleged in-flight incident in August 2022. The Transportation Department’s inspector general had stated that Dunn threatened to shoot the captain during a disagreement over whether to divert due to a passenger’s medical issue.
After the incident, Dunn was sent on orders to Ramstein Air Base in Germany for training at the 603rd Air Operations Center. The Air Force has suspended his access to sensitive information and the air operations center due to the airline incident.
As of now, there has been no comment from Dunn’s lawyer regarding the incident.
Although Dunn was employed by Delta Air Lines, the specific airline or route of the confrontation has not been disclosed. Delta stated that Dunn no longer worked there, and federal officials have revoked his authority to carry a gun on board.
This is the same Jonathan Dunn who previously sued the Pentagon to prevent the Air Force from disciplining him for refusing a mandatory COVID-19 vaccination. Dunn objected to the vaccine on religious grounds and argued that he was already protected because he had contracted the virus in 2021.
However, the U.S. Supreme Court declined to consider his case and his appeal was dismissed in April 2022. The court did not provide an explanation for their decision.
The indictment against Dunn was issued on October 18. He was charged with interference with a flight crew, which is a felony punishable by up to 20 years in prison.
As a commissioned Air Force officer since 2003, Dunn has logged over 1,400 hours flying combat missions over Afghanistan. He joined the Air Force Reserve in 2014 and served as commander of a reserve squadron at March Air Reserve Base in California.
This incident occurred after Dunn was removed as a commander in February 2022 for refusing the COVID-19 vaccine. He sued the Pentagon and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, but his request for a religious exemption was denied.
Further details about any potential additional punishment for Dunn are unclear from court documents.
It remains unknown why the indictment came down more than a year after the incident occurred.
Interfering with a flight crew is a serious offense and an arraignment for Dunn is scheduled for November 16.
Joseph David Emerson, a pilot for Alaska Airlines, recently made headlines for attempting to shut down the engines of a Horizon Air jet in mid-flight. He was subdued and arrested after the plane diverted to Portland, Oregon.
Emerson stated that he was suffering from depression and had taken psychedelic mushrooms before the flight. He pleaded not guilty to charges of attempted murder.