Authorities have dismissed theories that Shokair, 36, or his 24-year-old copilot brought the aircraft down intentionally – as happened with a 1999 EgyptAir flight that originated in Los Angeles and crashed into the waters off New England.
They have described Shokair as a respected veteran with more than 6,000 hours of flying time under his belt – one-third of that at the controls of an A320.
Family members, too, have had to contend with speculation about Shokair’s motives or mental state.
“He was not an extremist,” Samir Shokair said. “He was a popular person, close with everyone. He always wanted to be a pilot.”
Outside the prayer hall, close male relatives in dark suits stood in two rows, greeting mourners with hugs and solemn handshakes. Women waited in an adjacent room, some clutching handkerchiefs close to their faces.