Was Boeing Whistleblower’s Death NOT a Suicide?

by SharonKurheg

This story discusses suicide. If you or someone you know is having thoughts of suicide, please contact the Suicide & Crisis Lifeline at 988 or 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

On March 9th, the body of John Barnett, who had been a Boeing employee for more than 30 years before retiring in 1997, was found in his truck with what has been called a “self-inflected” gunshot wound.

During his last few years of working at the company, Barnett, aged 62 at the time of his demise, was a whistleblower due to what he claimed were multiple safety issues within the company. At the time of his death, Mr Barnett had been in Charleston for interviews linked to a long-running legal action against his former employer.

a screenshot of a cellphone
Barnett’s death happened in the midst of Boeing having ongoing investigations due to problems with several of their planes, including their 737 MAX, the door plug blown off an Alaska Airlines plane, and multiple United planes having issues, among others.

I admittedly have a dark sense of humor (can’t help it; I worked in health care for a quarter of a century). So when I heard of Barnett’s death, I mentioned, as a joke, that had all of this happened in Russia, Barnett’s death, instead of a “self-inflicted gunshot to the head” might have instead been his “accidentally falling out of a window,” as had happened with several oligarchs who were critics of Vladimir Putin.

Now I kinda wonder how right I was.

A few media outlets are suggesting that Barnett killing himself would be questionable, according to “sources.” The original “it wasn’t suicide” post came from an ABC affiliate in North Charleston. However, it’s since gained traction (granted, by outlets that are generally considered to offer more clickbait than actual news):

  • Inside Boeing whistleblower final moments — with John Barnett not seeming ‘depressed’ on night before alleged suicide: sources
    Boeing whistleblower John Barnett “didn’t seem depressed” at dinner on the evening before he was mysteriously found dead in his car with a gunshot wound to his head, sources told The Post.
    Lawyers, family friends and witnesses all say the 62-year-old was upbeat about finishing off giving testimony against his former employer in Charleston, South Carolina, and raised suspicious as to whether he’d take his own life.
    An employee who works at the Holiday Inn where Barnett was found dead in the parking lot told The Post Barnett ate a quesadilla, drank a Coke, scrolled on his phone and seemed fine on the evening of Feb. 8. — NY Post, March 14, 2024

  • Boeing whistleblower John Barnett made a grim prediction before his death, friend claims: ‘It’s not suicide’
    Boeing whistleblower John Barnett made a grim prediction that he could potentially end up dead after raising safety concerns about the jetliner giant, allegedly telling a family friend: “If anything happens, it’s not suicide.”
    Authorities — who are still probing his death — initially said Barnett died from a “self-inflicted” gunshot wound to the head, but his lawyers, family, and friends have since raised doubts over whether the ex-Boeing quality control engineer actually took his own life.
    “I know that he did not commit suicide. There’s no way,” a family friend, only identified as Jennifer, told ABC 4.
    “He wasn’t concerned about [his own] safety because I asked him,” Jennifer told the outlet. “I said, ‘Aren’t you scared?’ And he said, ‘No, I ain’t scared, but if anything happens to me, it’s not suicide.’” — NY Post, March 15, 2024
  • Boeing Whistleblower Predicts His Own Death: ‘If Anything Happens to Me, It’s Not Suicide’
    John Barnett, the whistleblower who was participating in a lawsuit against Boeing, said not to believe reports of his death being a suicide, according to a close family friend.
    In an interview with ABC 4 News earlier this week, the woman, whose name is Jennifer, claimed she didn’t believe Barnett died by suicide and that she had a conversation with him about how his death could play out days before his deposition in the case against Boeing. — Yahoo News, March 15, 2024

  • Boeing Whistleblower Warned Family Friend ‘It’s Not Suicide’ Before Death
    John Barnett, the 62-year-old Boeing whistleblower discovered dead with a gunshot wound in South Carolina Saturday, had previously told a family friend not to believe what authorities would say if he was found dead, according to local network ABC News 4.
    Police are investigating after Barnett was discovered in a hotel car park in Charleston with a single gunshot wound to the head, along with what officers described as a “silver handgun” and a “white piece of paper that closely resembled a note.” A coroner’s report said he died from a “self-inflicted” wound, though the Charleston Police Department is still making inquiries.
    Speaking to ABC News 4 Jennifer, who didn’t give a surname and was described by the network as a “close family friend” of Barnett, claimed he told her not to believe any reports of his suicide some time before his death.
    She claimed he insisted “I ain’t scared” before adding “but if anything happens to me it’s not suicide.”
    Jennifer said: “I know he did not commit suicide 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…I think somebody didn’t like what he had to say and wanted to shut him up and didn’t want it to come back on anyone so that’s why they made it look like a suicide.”Newsweek, March 15, 2024

It was also covered in MetroUK, Daily Mail Online, Newsmax, etc., but not an internationally (or even nationally) known and respected outlet.

Barrett’s death is, of course, a tragedy. Whether his gunshot wound was self-inflicted or not, it’s still one more life gone earlier than it could have been. The fact that he was so involved in the ongoing Boeing incident just makes for more questions.

For now, it’s a conspiracy theorist’s dream.

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GBSanDiego March 25, 2024 - 1:44 pm

Your joke about falling off the window is too funny and now have to use it. Wow….I never connected these dots of the joke.

These types of jokes are a result of people putting themselves in this position (Boeing CEO and top management). Kind of like the person that lies a lot and when they tell the truth, no believes them.

Thanks for the humor!!!

Christian March 25, 2024 - 3:28 pm

My favorite is the Russian oligarch who died in a voodoo ritual gone wrong. After all, those ultra-rich Russians are well known for being voodoo lovers, right?

Dave March 25, 2024 - 5:34 pm

Awful if he did it over something like this


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