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Press Release

Former Airline Pilot Accused of Threatening to Shoot Delta Captain During Flight is Scheduled to Appear in Federal Court

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Utah

SALT LAKE CITY – A former pilot accused of threatening to shoot his co-pilot is scheduled to appear at a Salt Lake City Federal District Court Thursday. The pilot was serving on active duty with the U.S. military overseas at the time he was indicted in October 2023. 

According to court documents, Jonathan J. Dunn, 42, of Rapid City, North Dakota, and a former Delta Airlines First Officer, threatened to shoot the flight’s captain during a flight from Atlanta to Salt Lake City on Aug. 22, 2022. Dunn, a former Federal Flight Deck Officer, was a pilot authorized by TSA to carry a firearm on the flight deck for security. During the flight, a passenger had a medical issue and the flight’s captain advised Dunn the flight could be diverted to Grand Junction, Colorado, if the passenger’s condition worsened. Dunn objected to the contingency plan and described in substantial detail how he would shoot the captain multiple times for “going crazy” and he would later explain he had to shoot all the rounds he possessed because the captain was “still twitching.”

Dunn is charged with interference with a flight crew. His initial court appearance on the indictment is scheduled for Jan. 4, 2024, at 3:00 p.m. in courtroom 8.4 before a U.S. Magistrate Judge at the Orrin G. Hatch United States District Courthouse in downtown Salt Lake City. 

U.S. Attorney, Trina A. Higgins, of the District of Utah made the announcement.

The U.S. Department of Transportation Office of Inspector General (DOT-OIG) is investigating the case. 

Assistant United States Attorney Michael Kennedy of the District of Utah is prosecuting the case. 

An indictment is merely an allegation and all defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law. 


Felicia Martinez
Public Affairs Specialist
(801) 325-3237
USAO-UT | Facebook | Twitter

Updated January 3, 2024

National Security
Press Release Number: 24-01