Boeing whistleblower predicted his own death, told friend 'if anything happens, it’s not suicide'

"He wasn’t concerned about [his own] safety because I asked him," Jennifer said. "I said, ‘Aren’t you scared?’ And he said, ‘No, I ain’t scared, but if anything happens to me, it’s not suicide.'"

Hannah Nightingale Washington DC

Boeing whistleblower John Barnett, who was found dead on March 9 from what authorities initially called a "self-inflicted" gunshot wound, reportedly told a family friend after he started speaking out about safety concerns with the airplane maker, "if anything happens, it’s not suicide." 

A family friend only identified as Jennifer told ABC 4, "I know that he did not commit suicide. There’s no way." 

She said that Barnett had talked about this exact scenario playing out after he began speaking up publicly about Boeing-related safety concerns following his 2017 retirement from the company. He worked for over 30 years as a quality manager for Boeing.  

“He wasn’t concerned about [his own] safety because I asked him,” Jennifer said. “I said, ‘Aren’t you scared?’ And he said, ‘No, I ain’t scared, but if anything happens to me, it’s not suicide.’” 

This conversation, Jennifer said, included Barnett talking about his upcoming deposition in Charleston. 

"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," Jennifer said. 

Jennifer, who last saw Barnett at her father’s funeral in late February where Barnett was one of the pallbearers, said she believes someone "didn’t like what he had to say" and wanted to "shut him up." 

"That's why they made it look like a suicide," Jennifer said. 

The friend’s comments come as the lawyer for Barnett, Brian Knowles, cast doubt on Barnett’s death being a suicide. 

"They found him in his truck dead from an ‘alleged’ self-inflicted gunshot. We drove to the hotel and spoke with the police and the coroner," Knowles said. 

According to the New York Post, Knowles and fellow attorney Robert Turkewitz said, "He was in very good spirits and really looking forward to putting this phase of his life behind him and moving on. We didn’t see any indication he would take his own life. No one can believe it." 

Barnett’s body was found in his truck in the parking lot of a Holiday Inn hotel by an employee. He was reportedly found with a gunshot wound to the head and was still holding a pistol. 

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