Lawyers: Boeing May Not Have Pulled Trigger, But It Caused Whistleblower’s Death

John Barnett | Image by Barnett Family
John Barnett | Image by Barnett Family

The Charleston Coroner’s Office released its determination in the headline-inducing death of John Barnett, a former Boeing quality inspector who was found dead after he did not show up for the second day of deposition.

The most compelling evidence is video footage that the Charleston County Coroner said shows no one approached Barnett’s vehicle after he backed into a parking spot the night before he was found dead inside his vehicle, as previously reported by The Dallas Express.

The coroner’s report, published by Fox News, indicates that investigators believe Barnett died of a single, self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head. The report states that Barnett had gunpowder residue on his right hand, which was holding a Smith & Wesson handgun when he was discovered by hotel staff.

The report and the publication of images purporting to be a suicide note have not quelled conspiracy theories in the matter. A friend of Barnett, who has only been identified as “Jennifer,” said that Barnett had told her in February that “If I end up dead, it wasn’t suicide.”

Yet according to the coroner’s report, Barnett left a suicide note. The note included a statement that he allegedly wrote stating he wanted to be buried “face down so Boeing and their lying a** leaders can kiss my a**.”

Numerous users on X are continuing to view the circumstances surrounding the death with skepticism. User @MFTruthUltra posted the contents of the suicide note and wrote, “I call bulls**t.” They and other users responding to their posts argue the wording of the note doesn’t seem genuine.

Barnett was in South Carolina for a deposition by his own attorneys connected to claims that Boeing knowingly and willfully suppressed knowledge of quality control issues. Conspiracy theories have swirled since his death, particularly after another whistleblower against the airplane manufacturer died under mysterious circumstances, as reported by DX.

Boeing has been under federal scrutiny since a door plug blew out of an Alaska Airlines flight in January. The incident did not result in casualties but came just three days before the airline manufacturer would have been released from legal responsibility for the deaths of nearly 400 people in two crashes in 2018 and 2019.

The cause of those crashes was determined to be a faulty flight control system that put the company’s 737 Max 9 aircraft into a nose-down dive that pilots could not avert. Boeing knew about the problem but concealed it from federal investigators prior to the crashes. The deferred prosecution agreement allowed the company an opportunity to rectify manufacturing defects and a lack of quality control that led to the crashes.

Barnett was one of several employees to report to the Federal Aviation Administration that the company was taking shortcuts to improve productivity and enhance stockholder confidence.

Attorneys representing Barnett are now claiming that despite the fact Boeing seemingly did not pull the trigger on the gun, the company is responsible for his death.

“Mr. Barnett’s last words make clear that while Boeing may not have pulled the trigger, the company is responsible for his death,” Robert Turkewitz and Brian Knowles, Barnett’s lawyers, said in a joint statement Tuesday, per Fox News. “Mr. Barnett’s family wishes to thank the Coroner, the responders, and all those who have reached out with kind words and support. It is hoped that John’s legacy will be his brave and courageous efforts to get Boeing to change its culture of concealment to one that places quality and safety first.”

The attorneys representing Barnett allege that the stress and pressure placed on their client contributed to exacerbating preexisting conditions that led to his suicide. Barnett was preparing for the second day of deposition by his own attorneys when he allegedly took his own life.

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