NC-based pilot shot and killed in Puerto Rico, family says

American Airlines A319 (Photo: Bernal Saborio / CC BY-SA 2.0)

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) — A Charlotte-based pilot was shot and killed in Puerto Rico, a family member said Monday.

Family members say 48-year-old Matthew Stapula, a pilot for American Airlines, was killed in a shooting during one of his layovers. The family has a lot of questions, but right now they are in shock and grieving the loss of someone they loved dearly.

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Stapula’s father, Eric Stapula, said Matthew died near some sort of bar in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

Matthew Stapula (Photo: Family images via WBTV)

“You’re in shock at first, and of course you feel overwhelmed. You don’t know what to do,” Eric Stapula said in a phone interview with WBTV Monday night.

Eric Stapula says his son had a passion for the aviation industry and loved to fly, even getting a chance to occasionally work with his daughter who had worked as a flight attendant. The elder Stapula noted that his son was a family man.

“I’m losing a very close friend and obviously my firstborn son,” Eric Stapula said.

The grieving father said he learned about his son’s death Monday morning, but wasn’t given a lot of information.

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