Boeing Whistleblower’s Lawyers Demand Probe into Shocking Death During Deposition

According to his lawyers, the Boeing whistleblower who was found dead over the weekend in Charleston, South Carolina in between depositions showed no signs that he intended to commit suicide and appeared in good spirits.

John Barnett, a 62-year old long-time Boeing employee, who made public safety concerns that he claimed he discovered at the North Charleston Plant, died on Saturday, just a day after taking a deposition before the lawyers of the company. He was supposed to answer more questions but failed to show up. Shortly after, police made a shocking discovery.

In a statement, Charleston police stated that they responded to Holiday Inn Savannah Highway around 10:20 am Saturday and found Barnett in his truck dead. He was found dead on the spot with a gunshot wound to the head.

The coroner stated that “he died of what appeared to have been a self-inflicted firearm wound.” It was not possible to obtain the official report of the coroner. The city police confirmed that they were investigating his death.

Robert Turkewitz, Brian Knowles, and their attorneys stated they were all “devastated”.

“We need to know more about what happened with John. Charleston police must investigate the case fully and accurately, and then inform the public of what they discover. No detail should be overlooked.”

Barnett, who had a long career at Boeing that spanned decades, was planning on completing his deposition to move forward with his life. His Boeing career came crashing down in a retaliation suit after he exposed and made public safety issues in the 787 Dreamliner.

They said, “He was very positive and eager to move on and put this part of his life in the past.” “We saw no indication that he was going to commit suicide.” “No one can believe this.”

Barnett was a quality engineer at Boeing for more than 30 years before retiring in 2017. Barnett said to the BBC in 2019 that Boeing would rush its 787 Dreamliner planes off the production lines, compromising their safety.

He claimed that the emergency oxygen systems of the jets failed at a rate of 25 percent. It meant that 25% of the 787 Dreamliners could lose oxygen quickly if cabins suddenly decompressed and suffocated passengers.

He claimed that he was aware of the problem while working in Boeing’s North Charleston Plant in 2010. He also said that he had raised it with the management but to no avail. His lawyers claim that instead of dealing with the problem, the company retaliated and created a hostile working environment. This led to the lawsuit in which he is being deposed.

Boeing was ordered to take action by the Federal Aviation Administration after it reviewed Boeing’s operations in 2017. The FAA confirmed some of Barnett’s claims and backed up Barnett’s assertions.

Boeing said, “We’re saddened by the passing of Mr. Barnett, and we send our condolences to his family and close friends.”

Barnett, in January of this year, told TMZ that he was worried Boeing would return its 737 Max 9 planes to the skies too soon, following the Alaska Airlines incident where the door panel blew out mid-flight.

The lawyers stated that John was a man of courage and integrity. He cared deeply about his family, friends, Boeing, his Boeing colleagues, as well as the pilots, and people who fly on Boeing aircraft. “We have never met anyone with such a sincere and forthright personality.”

The investigation is still ongoing.

Charleston police issued a statement saying that detectives are “actively investigating this case” and “awaiting the official cause of death as well as any other findings which might shed more light on the circumstances surrounding Mr. Barnett’s death”.