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Boeing whistleblower’s death ruled a suicide by S.C. coroner

The Boeing logo at the New York Stock Exchange Associated Press/Photo by Richard Drew, file

Boeing whistleblower’s death ruled a suicide by S.C. coroner

The Charleston County Coroner’s office on Friday provided an autopsy report to WORLD for Boeing whistleblower John Barnett, concluding he died by suicide. Charleston Police Department officers found Barnett dead in his vehicle in a Holiday Inn parking lot. He had a gunshot wound to the head.

Why did the coroner rule his death a suicide? Barnett was holding a handgun in his right hand when officers found him, and he had a bullet entrance wound in his right temple, according to the coroner’s report. Officers found only one spent bullet casing in the car. Officers also found writings resembling a suicide note. Only his fingerprints were on the writings.

Additionally, he was under high stress, had increased his anti-anxiety medication, and was grieving the death of his wife, according to interviews with his family, attorneys, and healthcare professionals.

“It is my hope that the world will remember John Barnett not for the manner in which he died, but for the manner in which he lived,” Charleston County Coroner Bobbi Jo O'Neal said in a statement.

Dig deeper: Listen to Mary Muncy’s report on The World and Everything in It podcast about Boeing trying to reclaim its reputation for safety amid many safety concerns.

Josh Schumacher

Josh is a breaking news reporter for WORLD. He’s a graduate of World Journalism Institute and Patrick Henry College.

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