Boeing Whistleblower’s Friends Deny Suicide Claim

Boeing logo | Photo by Samuel Corum/Getty Images

The 62-year-old Boeing whistleblower who was found dead last week had purportedly told a friend, “If anything happens to me, it’s not suicide.”

John Barnett worked as a quality control manager for Boeing for 30 years. He reportedly became aware of serious safety issues with the company’s planes. After exposing the problems, he allegedly faced backlash from the company and eventually filed a whistleblower retaliation case.

On March 8, Barnett sat for a deposition in Charleston, South Carolina, related to the retaliation case, but he failed to show up the next morning for his second day of scheduled testimony. He was later found dead in his truck outside the hotel where he was staying, as previously reported by The Dallas Express.

The Charleston County coroner ruled that he died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound. However, those who claimed to know Barnett well found that conclusion hard to believe.

Barnett’s attorneys, Robert Turkewitz and Brian Knowles, released a statement describing Barnett as a “brave, honest man of the highest integrity.”

“He cared dearly about his family, his friends, the Boeing company, his Boeing co-workers, and the pilots and people who flew on Boeing aircraft. We have rarely met someone with a more sincere and forthright character,” the statement read, per Live 5 WCSC.

“In the course of his job as a quality manager at Boeing South Carolina, John learned of and exposed very serious safety problems with the Boeing 787 Dreamliner and was retaliated against and subjected to a hostile work environment, which is the subject of his pending AIR-21 case,” the lawyers said.

“John was in the midst of a deposition in his whistleblower retaliation case, which finally was nearing the end. He was in very good spirits and really looking forward to putting this phase of his life behind him and moving on. We didn’t see any indication he would take his own life. No one can believe it,” the statement continued.

“We are all devasted. We need more information about what happened to John. The Charleston police need to investigate this fully and accurately and tell the public what they find out. No detail can be left unturned,” Turkewitz and Knowles said.

A woman who claimed to be a close family friend of Barnett said he had considered the possibility that he could be killed by those determined to silence him and that it could be made to look like a suicide.

The woman, identified by ABC 4 News only as Jennifer, said she asked him shortly before he gave his deposition, “Aren’t you scared?”

He allegedly replied, “No, I ain’t scared, but if anything happens to me, it’s not suicide.”

“I know that he did not commit suicide,” Jennifer said. “There’s no way. He loved life too much. He loved his family too much. He loved his brothers too much to put them through what they’re going through right now.”

The Charleston police are continuing an investigation into Barnett’s death.

As The Dallas Express has extensively covered, Boeing passenger planes have been making the news recently as they have experienced a rash of failures, which could have resulted in deadly disasters. Some observers have attributed the increase in incidents to the company’s prioritization of diversity, equity, and inclusion objectives over quality control measures.

Support our non-profit journalism

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Continue reading on the app
Expand article