Boeing Whistleblower Found Dead In His Truck

A former Boeing manager who in 2017 provided evidence in a whistleblower lawsuit against the airplane manufacturer was found dead of an apparent suicide earlier this month in South Carolina, CBS News reported.

According to the Charleston County Coroner, 62-year-old John Barnett died from an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound.

Charleston police responded to a report from an employee from a Holiday Inn who claimed to have heard a “pop” coming from a vehicle in the parking lot on the morning of March 9. Responding officers found Barnett dead inside the vehicle with a gun in his hand, ABC News reported.

According to Charleston police, Barnett had checked into the Holiday Inn on March 2 and checked out on March 8.

Barnett worked at Boeing for 32 years. From 2010 to 2017, he was a quality manager at Boeing’s North Charleston plant where the 787 Dreamliner was manufactured. After retiring in 2017, Barnett was one of the Boeing workers to file a whistleblower complaint on the Dreamliner.

In a 2019 interview with the BBC, Barnett revealed serious issues with the oxygen systems on the 787 aircraft. He also claimed that Boeing installed sub-standard parts to avoid production delays.

In a March 12 statement, Barnett’s attorneys Brian Knowles and Robert Turkewitz said their client had been in the middle of a deposition for his whistleblower retaliation case which was nearing an end. They described Barnett as in “good spirits” and eager to put the case behind him, adding that there had been no indication that Barnett planned to take his life.

His attorneys said in their statement that Barnett was a man “of the highest integrity” who cared about Boeing and its workers. They called on the Charleston police to fully investigate Barnett’s death and “accurately” inform the public of what they found.

Boeing, which has long denied Barnett’s allegations, sought to dismiss the whistleblower retaliation case.

Following Barnett’s death, Boeing said in a statement that the company was “saddened” by his passing and offered its thoughts to his friends and family.

In a statement to CBS News, Barnett’s family said the hostile work environment at Boeing left him “suffering from PTSD and anxiety attacks” and likely led to his suicide.