Boeing Whistleblower Cause of Death Revealed

( – In a tragic turn of events in Charleston, South Carolina, the mysterious death of John Barnett, a former Boeing engineer and whistleblower, has been officially ruled a suicide by local authorities. Barnett, whose career at Boeing spanned over three decades, was found deceased from a self-inflicted gunshot wound in his truck outside a hotel in early March.

The Charleston County Coroner’s Office concluded that Barnett died from a gunshot wound to the head. The coroner, Bobbi Jo O’Neal, stated, “All findings were consistent with a self-inflicted gunshot wound. The official cause of death is the gunshot wound, and the manner is best deemed, ‘Suicide.’”

The circumstances surrounding Barnett’s death have captured widespread attention, primarily due to his contentious legal battle with Boeing. Before his death, Barnett was engaged in a lawsuit against the aerospace giant, claiming retaliation, harassment, and espionage by his former employer.

Details provided by the police reveal that Barnett was alone in his locked vehicle with a pistol in his right hand, a suicide note left on the passenger seat, and a single shell casing found in the truck. Further investigation confirmed gunshot residue on Barnett’s hand and his fingerprints on the notebook containing his suicide letter.

On the day of his death, Barnett was due for his second day of depositions in the lawsuit. After he failed to appear, concerned lawyers requested a wellness check. Hotel surveillance footage showed Barnett leaving the hotel alone shortly before parking his vehicle. There were no unusual travel patterns or communications detected in his phone records, and no one approached the vehicle until his body was discovered the following morning.

Police records indicate that the handgun used in the incident was legally purchased by Barnett in 2000. Despite the coroner’s conclusion, some, including one of Barnett’s lawyers, Robert Turkewitz, have expressed doubts about the suicide ruling. Turkewitz told Fox News, “It just didn’t make sense” that Barnett would take his own life, although he noted that he didn’t believe Boeing played a role in Barnett’s death.

Barnett retired from Boeing in 2017 as a quality-control engineer. He publicly criticized the company’s practices, particularly concerning the production and safety standards of Boeing’s 787 Dreamliner jets. In a 2019 interview with the BBC, Barnett voiced concerns over Boeing’s rushed production processes which he believed compromised safety. Further, in January, he raised alarms about Boeing’s decision to return its 737 Max 9 jets to service prematurely, following an incident with an Alaska Airlines jet.

This case unfolds against the backdrop of ongoing struggles within Boeing. The company’s CEO, Dave Calhoun, announced his resignation by the end of the year, an event not directly related to Barnett’s lawsuit but reflective of the broader challenges facing the aerospace manufacturer.

The legal team representing Barnett has not yet responded to inquiries regarding the coroner’s findings. The community and those close to Barnett continue to grapple with the loss, seeking to reconcile the dedicated engineer’s tragic end with his life’s commitment to safety and integrity in aerospace engineering.