‘A Lot Of Evil In This World’: Close Friend Of Dead Boeing Whistleblower Alleges He Did Not Commit Suicide

[Public/Screenshot/YouTube/ABC News 4]

John Oyewale Contributor
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The Boeing whistleblower and former employee John Barnett predicted that he could be killed and his death framed a suicide, a close friend of his alleged in a phone interview to ABC News 4 aired Thursday.

“He wasn’t concerned about safety because I asked him, I said, ‘Aren’t you scared?'” Barnett’s friend, identified as Jennifer, told ABC News 4, according to the outlet’s video report. “And his voice, the way he would talk, ‘Nah, I ain’t scared,’ he said, ‘but if anything happens to me, it’s not suicide.’ I know that 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.”

“And he basically told you not to believe it?” ABC News 4’s Anne Emerson asked, according to the report.

“Yeah. … He’s got too much to do, likes breathing — and he did, he had a lot of plans and things that he wanted to do,” Jennifer replied.

“What do you think happened?”

“I think somebody got in there and made — you know, money can buy anything nowadays, it seems like. And there’s a lot of evil in this world — 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,” Jennifer replied.

Jennifer’s mother and Barnett’s were best friends and both families were very close, she told the outlet. Barnett had recently visited Jennifer when she needed some help, and they had talked about Barnett’s upcoming deposition against Boeing in Charleston, North Carolina, she told the outlet. Barnett, in his complaint against Boeing, reportedly alleged the company retaliated against him for blowing the whistle on the company’s allegedly unsafe practices.

Barnett was a pallbearer at Jennifer’s father’s funeral late Feb., she told ABC News 4.

Barnett was soon reportedly found dead in his truck with what the Charleston County Coroner’s Office said “appears to be a self-inflicted gunshot wound.” He had worked for Boeing for 32 years and served as a quality manager at the company’s North Charleston plant between 2010 and 2017, before retiring to look after his mother in Louisiana, according to the British Broadcasting Corporation. (RELATED: REPORT: Whistleblower Found Dead Days After Submitting Evidence Against Company)

Barnett’s attorney Robert Turkewitz, who had been working with Barnett since 2017 when he “first raised an alarm” on Boeing’s safety issues, told ABC News 4 Barnett was “in good spirits the night” before his unexpected death and was looking forward to reuniting with his family in Louisiana.

Turkewitz had repeatedly dialed Barnett that fateful Saturday morning, then dialed the man’s hotel asking for the staff to check if his truck was still there, according to the outlet. The staff reportedly returned saying that they would have to call emergency services.

Describing Barnett’s death as “a huge loss,” Turkewitz told ABC News 4, “I mean, we’re just shocked and devastated by it. John’s a brave, honest man of the highest integrity.”

Turkewitz reportedly said Barnett “had the courage to do the right thing. And unfortunately, at the end of the day, it’s, it’s cost him the ultimate price. So, did he have a target on him? I don’t know the answer to that. Hopefully not. But you know, I know that — I’m sure that there are people who are angry at him blowing the whistle.”

Charleston police found a note and a gun at the scene, ABC News 4 reported. Turkewitz urged the police to leave no stone unturned, according to the outlet.

Barnett’s legal team will reportedly push through with preparations for Barnett’s trial against Boeing in June, this time possibly on behalf of Barnett’s estate.