Former Co-Worker of Pilot Arrested on Handgun Charges Speaks - NBC29 WVIR Charlottesville, VA News, Sports and Weather

Former Co-Worker of Pilot Arrested on Handgun Charges Speaks

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Former co-workers are coming to the defense of a Barboursville pilot arrested for allegedly trying to board a flight with a loaded gun.  

The pilot, 52-year-old Brett Dieter, was arrested at Buffalo Niagara International Airport on Friday and charged with possessing a concealed firearm.  Former Charlottesville flight attendant Tom Donohue worked with Dieter for more than a year and says he does not believe his former captain intentionally carried the weapon with him.  

"My understanding is that he came back from vacation probably used the same bags with his uniform in it, and got off and went. And probably didn't realize that he had his gun in there, " said Donohue.

A screener spotted the .357 Magnum in Dieter's bag. Investigators believe he had been flying with the gun since Wednesday when he flew from Charlottesville to New York City without having his bag scanned.

He reportedly went on seven flights without incident. There has been growing concern because the Transportation Security Administration bans pilots from carrying weapons unless they are members of a federal flight deck program, which Dieter was not.

"I don't think in any possible way that anybody was at risk or in any danger. His bags would have been either on him in the flight deck … If it was a small bag," said Donohue.

NBC29 stopped by Dieter's Barboursville home to get him an opportunity to respond to the allegations and was informed that he has an attorney and is not allowed to comment on the incident. Dieter is scheduled to appear in court on May 23rd.

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